Active parents tend to raise active children that grow up to choose a lifestyle of fitness for themselves.
Childhood obesity has reached epidemic levels. The Center for Disease Control reports that it has reached 12.5 million children within America, tripling since 1980. Many preteens in this category are storing excess belly fat, which is very dangerous. Belly fat, or visceral fat, increases a preteen's risk for childhood diabetes and other metabolic disorders as well as developing conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, dementia and certain cancers later on in life. Daily exercise along with a healthy balanced diet is highly prescribed as the remedy to lose belly fat for preteens.
The recommended minimum guidelines regarding child and adolescent physical activity is slightly higher to that of adults. The CDC advises healthy adults to participate in at least 150 minutes of moderately-intense exercise and two days of resistance training every week. Preteens are recommended to be active for 60 minutes every day, including three days a week of muscle-building activity. The recommendation also includes at least three days a week of vigorous-intensity exercise. Preteens should choose activities that they enjoy with a mix of moderate- and vigorous-intensity exercises to stay healthy. Following these guidelines along with a healthy diet is enough for preteens to lose belly fat and keep it off.
Keep It Simple
Preteens don't need a formal, scheduled workout routine to lose belly fat and stay healthy. The key is to encourage your preteen to make physical activity part of their lifestyle. The 60-minute daily recommendation does not have to be completed in one session. Jumping rope for 30 minutes after school and a 30-minute brisk walk with the family after dinner is enough to meet the daily minimum. Other exercise ideas include swimming, shooting around a basketball, skateboarding, hula hooping, jumping on the trampoline, yoga and bike riding. Some preteens even prefer home exercise DVDs. If your preteen is already participating in a sport, dance team, gymnastics or other organized physical activity, that counts towards the 60 minutes of daily activity.
What About Crunches?
All of the stomach exercises in the world will not get rid of belly fat on their own. According to the American Council on Exercise, the only way to lose weight in a particular area is to participate in a full body cardiovascular and resistance training workout to slim down all over. Preteens need to participate in muscle strengthening exercises at least three days a week as part of the 60-minute daily recommendation. This can be a structured activity such as playing a sport, lifting weights or resistance band exercises, or it can be as a simple as climbing trees or playing on the playground. Body-weight exercises such as pushups, squats and lunges are a simple way for preteens to incorporate strengthening exercises into their day.
According to a study by the University of the Basque Country, a diet with too many fatty foods causes excess abdominal fat in adolescents regardless of how active they are. Preteens need to eat a balanced diet of lean proteins, leafy green vegetables, fruits and healthy carbohydrates. It is important to eat as a many whole foods as possible and to avoid processed foods and sugary drinks. Preteens can't consume more calories than they burn off through exercise and expect to lose weight. Consult your child's doctor before attempting any weight loss plan.