According to the WHO, overweight and obesity in children and adolescents have increased dramatically. From only 4% of children and adolescents between 5 and 19 years of age who were overweight in 1975 to just over 18% in 2016. (1)
Fight obesity in early school; it is vital to avoid various diseases in adulthood, including type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
It is much easier for a teenager to lose weight at an early age than it is in adulthood. If proper eating habits are strengthened and physical activity increases, the tummy problem can be eliminated.
Keep reading about what teenagers should do to lose abdominal fat and fight overweight.
Recommended: Exercise Routine for Teens
Why do teens have belly fat?
According to the WHO, the root cause of obesity and overweight in adolescence is an energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended. Globally, there has been an increase in the consumption of energy-rich foods and a decrease in physical activity.
Therefore, the main reason teenagers grow their bellies is the excessive intake of sugars and fats. Candy, chocolate, baked goods, soda, and fast food are products that can disrupt your metabolism and lead to excessive weight gain.
Also, it is known that people who eat while watching television or playing computer games can lose track of how much they have eaten. This can cause them to overeat.
According to a study, people who are distracted eating and watching TV have a chance of increasing their calorie intake from 36 to 71%. (2)
These extra calories add up and can be a long-term cause of being overweight or obese.
Furthermore, advances in technology and transportation have favored the decline in physical activity.
When the goal is to reduce belly fat, not eating in front of the TV or computer may help teens.
How to reduce abdominal fat in adolescence?
To shed belly fat and remove the belly, a teenager must first remember that food is fuel for the body and not a source of entertainment. The sooner eating becomes a habit of staying strong and healthy, the easier it will be to maintain a stable weight.
Juices, sodas, candy, and snacks are mostly empty calories. For a child or adolescent to reduce abdominal fat, they need nutritious whole foods: cereals, vegetables, and various protein sources.
Adolescents’ excessive consumption of simple carbohydrates and saturated and trans fats is closely associated with metabolic disorders and increased abdominal fat.
Being overweight and obese are preventable. Some tips to reduce belly fat in adolescence are:
- Limit the energy intake of poor quality fats (fried, snacks, sausages)
- Increase the consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- Do physical exercise, at least 3 hours per week
- Reduce the consumption of total sugar (soft drinks, sweets, desserts)
- Reduce the consumption of ultra-processed foods and flour
Read more: Causes of overweight and obesity
How to reduce sugar consumption?
Reducing sugar consumption is essential to prevent a teenager from having excess abdominal fat.
While it is true that most children and adolescents will prefer sweet food with high sugar content to a fruit or a vegetable, it does not mean that they have to be eliminated. Desserts, cookies, and sugary products should be saved for a special occasion.
Some tips to reduce your sugar intake are:
- Keep these types of products out of sight and place fruits within reach.
- Avoid eating sugary cereals and other sugary products for breakfast and serve a breakfast rich in protein and nutrients.
- Don’t buy sugary juices and sodas daily
- Cook whole foods and complex carbohydrates throughout the day
Read more: Diet without added sugar
How to promote exercise for teenagers?
To reduce the belly and tone the body, a teenager should fall in love with sports and not look for magic exercises that promise results in a week. The simplest way is to train in a group and with functional movements.
Once a child understands how physical exercise changes his body and health, there will be no going back to the “couch” lifestyle. Additionally, horizontal bar exercises like chin-ups are great for increasing height and expanding your back.
Having friends to play sports with helps motivation. It is one of the best methods to reduce belly fat healthily.
The most important rule of thumb for reducing belly fat in adolescence is to cut out sugar and limit your intake of poor-quality fats.
Replacing these foods with whole-grain products and good fats will allow a teenager to eliminate the tummy automatically.
Encouraging exercises in adolescence is ideal for eliminating fat in the abdomen and strengthening the immune system, and improving health in general.