Growing Obesity among Teenagers


Obesity! Is one word that is creating Havoc in this country? What made me to write this blog was story of a teenager who came to me few days back to reduce weight. Teenage period is the transition period where maximum growth and development takes place. At this stage nutrients play a major role in their life. Actually not only nutrients, but a good healthy life lifestyle is also important. Parents are doing great effort to make their children healthy but, “Are they going on the right track? If they are then why are our teenagers getting obese?” The very obvious reason people gave you is “it’s in the genes” which is 100% true, but it is possible to control obesity if you follow a healthy diet along with good lifestyle.

So if I look at his lifestyle and food diary it was like this:

Wake up at 6:30am and leave for school at 7:30am eating nothing because he feels acidic when he wakes up and eating makes him pukish, which sounded quite genuine to me

In the school (short break)-Have two veg patty with one coke or sometimes fries with coke, by 10am. “I feel very hungry and want to eat everything”, he said.

12:30 long break-I have biscuits along with my tiffin

3:00pm-Reach home and sleep.

4:30pm-wake up, do some of his home work till 5:30pm

6:00pm-Drink coffee/milk/tea with some namkeen, bhelpuri, chips or anything that is available

Watch some TV then go out with my friends on active (bike) to have some fun, sometimes we play cricket but not daily.

9:00pm-dinner-3 rotis or rice or chapattis with any vegetable

12:00pm-sleep (till then I watch TV, play video games on tab. ”time ka pata nahi chalta”, he says meaning that time flies quickly.)

I asked his mom, “Would you like to say something about this?” She said “he doesn’t feel much hungry all day and though he is fat but he doesn’t feel energetic or does any house hold work and in morning we tried making him eat but nothing worked, we tried making him eat parathas, bread jam so that he feels hungry but nothing worked, though he doesn’t eat a lot but we are really clueless why he has started put on weight at this age?”

The point here is today’s teenagers are not getting good nutrition instead they convince their parents for having McDonalds, subway ,pizza and many more foods like this by saying ”it is full of veggies”. That’s true it may contain vegetables but this is not a healthy kind of meal.  It is a very unpleasant feeling when you come across children with these ailments. Today, it has become quite normal to see teenagers citing health issues such as bad eyesight, dental problems, hormonal imbalance, etc. One of the main reasons for this unhealthy condition among the current generation is easy availability of unhealthy processed foods than it was several years ago. One of the faults is also that parents do not keep a check on what the kids are eating. Most parents allow their child to indulge in any kind of junk food available in the market. The other aspect that leads to health issues among children today is that most are couch potatoes –they are glued to the TV, Video games, Tabs, Mobiles, and seldom go out and indulge in physical activities. This certainly was not a situation a decade back.

As a parent every mother is very protective of his/her child, but as a parent do you think his/her eating habits and lifestyle is correct? My answer is absolutely not! I have discussed some points with his mother ,which I would like to share with you all which not only helps in losing weight but give him wholesome of energy to do work and the right habits which most of the teenagers are missing on. So here we go

  • Make sure your child wakes up little early at least one hour before going to school; I have come across many children who wake up 15-20 minutes before going to school. Kids should complete their morning routine before heading towards breakfast. Wake him/her 15-20 minutes earlier and make him do little walk, clean stomach, that will help in increasing appetite and this definitely happen if you make your child sleep early so that he can wake up and eat breakfast which is the first rule and yet the most neglected part of weight loss regime.
  • Morning routine takes time to build up. Don’t let your child go hungry because breakfast is one thing that will keep you active throughout the day, improve concentration power and so is the memory. It is important to have breakfast for your child not just to have better concentration but we found in many studies that children who skip their breakfast are more likely to crave wrong foods in large quantities which is one reason for gaining weight and other is skipping breakfast or having your first meal too late drops down your body metabolism which is another reason for put on weight in children. So yes the routine will take time but as parents don’t give up, check with him. Does his stomach get clear daily? It might be because of this he feels pukish. Sometimes your children don’t like the food you give him. In which case, ask him what he likes to eat and if he does not like to have anything, gradually build habit with small portion. Don’t force him to eat more. Once he starts including small portion ,gradually increase it for example
  1. Instead of giving him full glass milk try half glass milk and ask him what he likes to have in milk or make powder of almond/cashew nuts/pistachios /elaichi and add it to the milk if he likes
  2. Instead of forcing him to eat paratha, try giving him small paratha of his choice which he likes very often
  3. Instead of giving him whole one fruit, try give him half with 5 almonds
  4. Try to be creative. At least 5 days different things so that he also gets variety and does not feel monotonous.

These are various examples that you can try out with your child to successfully incorporate breakfast. You as parents don’t give up and at least try with him for 21 days. It takes 21 days to form a habit, because if he will do breakfast on time, he will feel good, energetic and less likely to eat wrong foods. So if your child is struggling with obesity, start right from the morning itself J

  • If there are two breaks make sure he gets something for both the breaks, so that he won’t end up by eating wrong foods. You can give small snack for one of the breaks ,let me give you some examples
  1. Fruits
  2. Roasted lotus seeds
  3. Fruit salad with lemon, coriander and add chaat masala to it. It will help to build good taste
  4. Sprouts
  5. Homemade granola  bar

How to make homemade granola bar-Take nuts of your choice (almonds/walnuts/hazel nuts) preferably, you can add seeds like flaxseed/til/sunflower seeds/watermelon seeds/pumpkin again depends on your taste and choice.

Roast and crush to small pieces. Keep it aside.

take little pure cow’s ghee and add Jaggery or deseeded dates to it once soft add all crushed nuts and seed…you can add edible gum , makhana powder, chia seed etc.  mix all and remove in a flat pan and let it cool…make pieces and store it in refrigerator 🙂

Super healthy, best for improving immunity and perfect pre-workout bar without sugar or any preservative!

You can add or discard anything depending on availability 🙂

P.S : roast all the dry ingredients to improve shelf life 🙂 don’t let moisture get in touch with the product or ingredient.

And for granola type look you can pat roasted oats/muesli onto it 😉

  • Once your kid reaches home, make sure he eats something, or if he has lunch in school, give him something to drink ,some of the examples are
  1. Buttermilk (namkeenlassi or chaach)
  2. Curd
  3. Fruit smoothies-Blend fruits like apple, banana, strawberries with milk and yogurt…add soaked dates or dried dates powder (you can store it for recurrent use) for the sweeter taste
  4. Lemon water(lemonade)
  5. Jaljeera water
  6. Berry Fruit sorber-Blend any berry like strawberry ,blueberry, cherry with lemon ,bit of coriander powder, cumin powder, salt and chaatmasala, use jaggery instead of sugar. It will not only give good and refreshing taste helps in building good immunity too
  7. Soya Milk
  8. Coconut water

All the above drinks are great way to prevent your children from taking unwanted drinks such as cold drinks etcJ

  • Now comes the evening part which have been proved culprit to lot many children or adults aiming for weight loss, so for evening or to make sure to that your child doesn’t eat wrong practice ”keep good to eat good” strategy. Yes absolutely true when you have healthy options you and your family end up by eating healthy food. Don’t let your child eat anything he wants to because otherwise he won’t have anything. You need to make him understand about the right foods and practice yourself too. Some of the healthy evening snack options for your kids  are
  1. Besanpooda-Its rich in protein and it will give fullness to your child as well
  2. Chana chat –yes, chick peas are again good source of protein and other micronutrients, amazing healthy evening give lot of nutrients too
  3. Baked sweet potato fries-yes instead of frying potatoes, give him sweet potatoes rich in carbs and baking makes it healthy tooJ
  4. Whole wheat wraps-fill in any vegetable in normal roti with little of ketchup and herbs like oregano ,basil, it will not give variety to your children but your children will eat the veggies too and its very important either to stay healthy or aiming for weight loss, same way make whole
  5. Ravadhokla-It’s another healthy snack for your kids, and can help your children who struggling for weight loss, low in calories as is steamed and give you good nutrients from besan (again rich in protein),have curd in it as well so again another amazing evening snack
  6. Popcorns-yes your child can eat popcorn if he is aiming for weight loss and make sure to avoid packet one popcorn, but raw corn from market and pop it in pressure cooker instead of microwave
  7. chapati (Roasted wheat bread) crispsAn alternate to your packet of air filled, trans fats laden packet of potato chips. Just cut up some day old chapattis (whole wheat breads) into triangles or squares or however you like. Toss it with 2 teaspoons of oil and any spice or seasoning you want – I prefer mine with garlic powder, a pinch of salt, pepper and oregano. Bake in a preheated oven at 160°C for 10 – 12 minutes, toss once check for crunchiness and bake for another 6 – 8 minutes. And Enjoy. This recipe can also be made with whole wheat pita bread.

Puffed Rice Mixture (Kurmurachivda) – This is a amazing snack. And I am not kidding. The best part of this recipe is you can add whatever you like. – 2 cups of Mouri or Puffed Rice (As much as you want)

Hand full of Roasted Chickpea/Roasted peanuts/Roasted Foxnuts

  • 2 tsp oil
  • Mustard seeds
  • Cumin seeds
  • Curry leaves
  • Flax seeds & sesame seeds
  • Turmeric powder
  • Chili powder and salt

Heat oil in a pan, temper with mustard seeds, curry leaves, cumin seeds, flax seeds and sesame seeds (you can even add chopped green chilies if you prefer it spicier). Add all the dry spices and then add the puffed rice or Kurmura and roast thoroughly till is gives of a nice aroma and is well coated with the spices. Turn of the heat and add the whole grams/peanuts/foxnuts or a bit of everything.

Shelf life – 4 -5 days in an air tight container

8.Multigrain / sweet potato / pumpkin crackers-. I love these homemade crackers, as they have loads of nutrients but they can be quite tough to make.

  • 1 cup of wheat flour (whole wheat)
  • 1/2 cup nachni flour or ragi flour (you can also use any other flour instead)
  • 2 tbsp whole or grounded and toasted flaxseeds.
  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup puree of sweet potatoes (boil 2 sweet potatoes, mash and mix with 1/4 cup milk)
  • 1 tspn sugar
  • 1 tsp powdered garlic (optional)
  • 2 tsp mixture of herbs (optional)
  • Paprika or pepper (optional)
  • Sesame seeds for topping (white)
  • Nigella or Kalonji seeds for the topping

How to make

The oven has to be preheated to 170degrees.

Mix the flours, the sugar, salt and the baking powder and sift them thoroughly in a large bowl. Add the sifted mixture with the flax seeds, herbs, spices and butter in a food processor and run for a few seconds so that it looks like bread crumbs.

Mix in the puree of the sweet potatoes as well and run the food processor again so that it mixes well.

All the mixture should blend well, and if there is any dryness, you can add a little milk to the mixture and make it better. But make sure not to make the dough overly soft. Now softly knead the dough and divide into equal portions, say 4 or 5.

Use a rolling pin and roll each of the portion into a thinner circles between cling wrap or wax paper. If you like it, you can sprinkle either nigella or sesame seeds over the rolled out dough. You have to roll the dough again so that these seeds stick onto the dough. Now cut them into the shape that you want and bake them in the oven for approximately 10 minutes or until they are done.

The dough can also be stored in freezer for use on a later date.

Shelf – life – can easily stay good for at least a week if stored in an air tight container.

  1. Egg-o-Mania:

Make a scrambled egg, spread it on a slice of toasted whole wheat bread smeared with low fat cheese and garnish it with oregano/mixed herbs and black pepper. Being a perfect protein packed dish, it serves as a great post workout option. You can make this with one whole egg (with yolk). Yolk is rich in iron, vitamin A, B complex vitamins and amino acids too. We need not avoid it unless the person has high Triglycerides.

  1. Fruity-nutty yoghurt:

Chop your favorite fruits into small pieces, crush a few nuts (almonds/walnuts/pistachios/peanuts) and mix them in a cup of chilled yoghurt. Sprinkle some oregano or black pepper and enjoy this divine combo!

So yes, here are some basic options you can give your child. Evening snack is important because it will help your hunger levels for dinner because if we put long gaps between meals it will lead to over eating in your child. So by eating every meal helps you to eat in moderation and then you don’t have to worry about gaining weight, so evening snacks needs to be chosen wisely for sure.

  • After evening snack it’s important for your child to include some physical activity even if he is aiming for reducing weight or not.There is so much lack of physical activity among teenagers because of this technical world. Children do not want to go out of the room which is the main reason for obesity. Everything is so convenient nowadays. You will get everything right from the food to clothes at your door step without having to lift a finger. As parents make sure that your kid is indulging himself at least for an hour in physical activities, exactly the way you did when you were a kid. I remember playing out, the moment I reached home from school and during holidays and vacations. It used to become difficult for our parents to actually keep us at home.
  • Yes after including some physical activity it’s important for your child to eat dinner wisely and mindfully so that he doesn’t overeat, In experience of more than 2 years I have seen not only children but adults eat more in the second half of the day that is in the evening and dinner, so we need to eat dinner like we eat other meals. So if you start right from breakfast you will definitely end up by eating in moderation if you keep in mind the above points!
  • So while improving on eating habits and lifestyle keep in mind one important point-Make sure your child doesn’t eat in front of television. Many researches showed that a person end up eating more calories while sitting up in front of television because we are more concentrated towards television rather than on our food.  It has also been said that “In this techno world, people are getting round and Televisions are getting thin”.

Now the sleep time after dinner, Lack of sleep makes you overweight-SLEEP BETTER-some tips to ensure good sleep for your child

  • Make a regular time schedule for your child.
  • Make sure your child doesn’t get any stress related to his school work  assignments, submissions while your child  go to his bed for sleeping
  • Exercise daily can make your child fresh all the day but at end of the day tired as well that can ensure you good sleep
  • Make sure he doesn’t watch lot of television or do any kind of screen work before 30 minutes of his bed time.

Some basic Dietary Changes

  • Whatever be your weight loss plan, if you want to make it effective, you need to avoid intake of junk foods and ensure that you drink lots of water, especially if you are a teen.
  • Replace your junk intake by green and leafy vegetables.
  • Avoid any kind of fast and processed food item in your diet along with food that has fats or sugar or both.
  • Taking too much of carbohydrates is the major factor behind obesity. Therefore, for teens the best diet is one which comprises of vegetables. You can always substitute the carbs by proteins that are available from natural sources to improve the energy levels.
  • Fiber rich foods like green vegetables, whole grains and fruits are a must have in your diet for weight reduction. These foods can reduce your appetite naturally, reducing your consumption quantity considerably.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids are found abundantly in fishes like salmon, tuna, etc, which can help improve the process of metabolism and help with your weight loss plan.


  • Instead of egg sandwich eat scrambled egg with  veggies
  • Instead of vegetable mayonnaise sandwich go for hung curd  vegetable sandwich
  • Instead of whole milk go for skimmed milk
  • Prefer baked chips over  fried ones
  • Use more herbs and spices to flavor the food instead of butter or ghee-fat definitely add flavor to food, but, you can add incredible flavor with no calories and no fat by adding spices. And, you can add spices to anything, especially where your first thought might be to add butter and salt.
  • Instead of fried chicken prefer roasted or grilled. Same goes for vegetarians prefer roasted or grilled food
  • Choose whole fruits instead of juice- not only juices are high in calories but also low in fiber as compare to whole fruit
  • Prefer salted fresh lime over sweetened one
  • Choose a slice of thin crust pizza over thick crust
  • Prefer a cup of ice cream instead of taking it in a cone
  • Snack on air popped corn over chips

Note-Eat everything but in moderation – Daily intake of “happy meal “can definitely increase the taste of your tongue but your waist too. Eat such kind of things like McDonalds, KFC, pizza once a week or once a month – you will enjoy them more anyway.


  • Regular workout and exercises are one of the best ways to reduce weight.
  • You can lose weight easily by including a 30 minute workout on cardio like skating, treadmill run, outdoor games, swimming or even by walking.
  • Any workout on cardio can help improve the process of metabolism and ensure that more calories are burnt.
  • Both walking and swimming can help reduce quite a lot of weight.
  • For teens, indulging in outdoor activities like playing football, hockey, tennis and soccer can help immensely.


Role of parents in the obesity of teens

Children idolize their parents and tend to follow their habits. It is therefore important that parents instill healthy lifestyle which includes a healthy diet and regular workouts. As per the various research and studies, it is proven that a healthy diet comprising of balanced nutrition can really help fighting obesity in teens.

It is important for the parents to remember that reprimanding the children for obesity will not help fight obesity but one should rather guide them on reducing weight. Parents have to instill the importance of maintaining a balanced weight to their children and build a positive outlook for their kids. It is important for the parents to be a role model for their children. Only the parents have the power to help their teens lead a normal and healthy life.