Tips for Fighting Obesity in Teens

By Michelle Davulis
June 29, 2021
Tips on fighting obesity in teens
Tips on fighting obesity in teens

Tips for Fighting Obesity in Teens is never something you think you need but many teens are staying indoors these days causing increased obesity and health concerns.

The summer of 2021 is definitely shaping up to be way better than the dreaded summer of 2020. What I’ve been hearing in the industry and as a father is that many young adults especially teenagers have fallen victim to obesity or lack of activity due to being stuck indoors. According to the CDC, 21.2% of teenagers are overweight in the US as of a 2017/2018 study which is well before the COVID-19 pandemic (United States Center for Disease Control (CDC), 2019).

Activity, exercise, and diet all play a vital role in any teenager’s growth and development. It is well-known that a healthy diet and the right combination of vitamins and minerals will keep a person focused and give them the energy they need to live an active lifestyle that promotes happiness, mental well-being, and better rest. After reading a few articles about the rising obesity in teens, I wanted to focus on how to keep teenagers active because good habits in your teen will spill over to better habits as they become adults. When we set the generations ahead of us for success it makes even insurance premiums go down as their healthy lifestyles will require them to put in fewer claims.

Encourage a Summer Job

The best advice I have seen in keeping a teen active over the summer is encouraging them to get a summer job.

summer jobs for teens helps them stay fit and active

Jobs for Teens

  • Local elementary, middle, and high schools – That’s where I worked!
  • Community Colleges
  • Local Shops – SUPPORT LOCAL
  • Fast Food
  • Retail Stores
  • Babysitting
  • Landscaping

Back in the ’60s and ’70s, all young boys between the ages of 16-18 couldn’t wait for the summer to start and the summer jobs to open up. I worked at the schools in Woodridge every summer tending to the lawn, doing minor maintenance, and cleaning classrooms and bathrooms. At the end of the summer, I had a good amount of money to buy a stereo that I’d always wanted. Many laugh and say “Things were different that long ago” but I believe the principles are the same. My summer jobs not only gave me the reward of money but all day I was keeping active. A job can keep kids active even if it isn’t as physical as I did. Just the act of getting out of bed, getting dressed, and combing your hair helps promote a healthy and active lifestyle. Instead of grabbing that game controller, they will be out and about expelling energy and using those muscles!

Some resources to help teens find a job

  • Start with your local schools. They usually have all sorts of programs to get your teen started!
  • Local colleges like the College of DuPage or Joliet Junior have programs specific to summer teen jobs. Check out your local community college.
  • Local Shops need interns and help all summer long. Walk the streets of your downtown area or drop into a local store near you and ask the owner how your teenager can be of service. Sometimes if they can’t pay money, they can still offer great benefits for teens.
  • Jimmy Johns and your local fast-food joints. Almost all fast-food restaurants take teens and young adults. Many even have scholarship opportunities like Taco Bell.
  • Indeed has an entire section for jobs for teens!
  • Helping neighbors with yard work and babysitting was also something I did well before I was of legal age to work for a company or corporation.

For Teens, 11-15 Sports

horse back riding for teens keeps them healthy and fit all summer long
Horseback Riding is a great activity the entire family can enjoy!

If your teen is too young for a job the next best thing is joining a new summer sport or continuing a seasonal school sport in the summer. Many youth sports can continue throughout the year. If your teenager participates in a winter sport such as hockey or ice skating there are still ways for them to continue the sport throughout the summer. This will keep them active and exercising plus they will be better prepared for the High School season come the fall.  Most areas have local skating rinks that are open all around. Local roller-skating rinks can also be a great source to keep up skills without the ice.

If your teen adores outdoor sports, there shouldn’t be a problem keeping them involved even if it is the off-season. Your local Park Districts, YMCAs, and private organizations are pretty good at creating dynamic summer programs to keep your teens’ skills intact.  My Marketing Director and her daughter ride together as members of the United States Pony Club.

Sometimes a winter sport can be too tough to maintain in the summer, so the next best thing is to try an entirely new sport! You can also get them involved in a summer activity they will want to continue year after year such as farming. I was lucky enough to find a summer job at a dairy farm for a few years. With sustainability and organic ways of life taking charge of the millennials, you can easily find local farmers’ markets, small working farms, and horse stables that could use an extra set of hands all summer long. Though farming isn’t mentioned as a sport the high level of activity can be just as effective as any sport.

swimming for teens to keep them active and fit over the summer.
Swimming is one of the BEST activities for teens

If your teen is too young for a job the next best thing is joining a new summer sport or continuing a seasonal school sport in the summer. Many youth sports can continue throughout the year. If your teenager participates in a winter sport such as hockey or ice skating there are still ways for them to continue the sport throughout the summer. This will keep them active and exercising plus they will be better prepared for the High School season come the fall.  Most areas have local skating rinks that are open all around. Local roller-skating rinks can also be a great source to keep up skills without the ice.

If your teen adores outdoor sports, there shouldn’t be a problem keeping them involved even if it is the off-season. Your local Park Districts, YMCAs, and private organizations are pretty good at creating dynamic summer programs.  

Sometimes a winter sport can be too tough to maintain in the summer, so the next best thing is to try an entirely new sport! You can also get them involved in a summer activity they will want to continue year after year such as farming. I was lucky enough to find a summer job at a dairy farm for a few years. With sustainability and organic ways of life taking charge with the millennials you can easily find local farmer’s markets, small working farms, and horse stables that could use an extra set of hands all summer long. Though farming isn’t mentioned as a sport the high level of activity can be just as effective as any sport.

Why Obesity in Teens is a Big Problem

Obesity in teens is something that needs to be addressed because we are seeing a continued rise in rates as seen in the below graph (on left) depicting obesity rates in teens by state by year. Though you can’t distinguish the state you can see clearly that all 50 saw a dramatic increase from 1999 to 2019 (STATE of Childhood Obesity, 2020).

Also seen in the below graph (on right) will show that the majority of states in the US have a high school obesity rate of 10-19% on average. On a positive note, there are no reported states that have a high school obesity rate higher than 30% in the US.

When a teen is obese or inactive it can also lead to the below teenage disorders:

  • Teenage heart disease
  • Teenagers with anxiety
  • A number of teenage mental health disorders
  • Teenage depression
  • Issues with Sleep in Teenagers
  • Social anxiety and isolation
  • Early teenage high blood pressure and cholesterol problems

Teenagers can have heart attacks and it does sadly happen to a small population. I am not against video games, YouTube (especially because I have a wonderful channel), social media, or the internet BUT I do feel that these items shouldn’t be used for over 8 hours a day. With all of the modern technology that makes our lives easier, we do need to work a little harder to find activities but there are plenty of options for any personality type. The best activities are ones done as a family!

If you have any questions about health insurance or how I can help you or a loved one with Medicare, Medicare Supplements, Individual Insurance Plans, Employee Benefits, or Dental and Vision Insurance give the MLD Agency a call! We are always here to help.

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