There are so many words and definitions related to health and fitness going around today – thin, slim, trim, fit, fat, over weight, obese etc. Today I am a consultant and diet counselor for people from age 5-75 and the one good news is health consciousness and awareness of food and nutrition is at an all time high. This is wonderful but we are seeing that many are unable to stick the right balance and are going off on a tangent, either with their food or exercise. Also many seem to have misconceptions about the right weight they should achieve and are even tipping the balance towards eating disorders and malnutrition. Many children and young people are specially prone to this.
On the other side are people who are working out at obsessive levels like an hour of aerobics followed by another hour of working out at a gym. Please note we do not recommend aerobics or the use of heavy gym equipments and weights for boys and girls below age 16. Children in their teenage, upto 16-17 are still growing and developing their bones, spine and muscles and we would recommend that they are committed to out door sports, walking, jogging, swimming,etc., rather than get into a gym or other classes. Great care should be exercised by parents as damage to any part of the body, back, spine, knees and ankles must be prevented. Also heavy exercises, weights etc., at a young age can sometimes stunt growth.
The other great danger is young girls and boys wanting to be very, very thin or wanting to look like some model or film star/T.V star. Please note that they have become what they are after age 18 or 20, not at age 12 or 13. They have finished their growth and development, reached a good height and then worked on their bodies, fitness, etc. If children start this at age 12 or 13, their growth gets stunted their body mass index as per health standards is very low and they look emaciated.
After sometime the body adapts to a very poor food intake and they just cant eat more. Slowly vitamin, mineral deficiencies set in and specially anemia, iron deficiency takes over. Then children cannot concentrate, they lose interest in life and even get depressed and very bad tempered. Parents must be very conscious if children are moving towards this pattern.
Teenage is the time to discover one self, your interest in various subjects in school, as well as the talents, abilities and gifts that God has created in each person. This is not the time to be obsessed about being thin and looking like somebody else. Parents must play an active role in providing good nutritious food and balanced meals at home. Trouble must be taken to see that breakfast is eaten daily. Pack a nutritious lunch and also see that children drink milk when they return from school and have a healthy snack. The home must be stocked with fresh fruits to snack on and salads must be provided daily for dinner.
Rich fatty foods and meals outside must not be more then twice in a week. Work towards health, fitness and being trim not thin.