Treating Teen Obesity
Healthy Lifestyles is a therapeutic teen weight management program that is incorporated into the Elk River Treatment Program
Elk River Treatment Program offers Healthy Lifestyles as a safe alternative to traditional “fat” camps. Healthy Lifestyles concentrates on changing negative behaviors in the long-term. By combining therapies, physical activities and a healthy diet, residents learn to make positive choices while maintaining a healthier lifestyle.
Healthy Lifestyles is a medically-based, multidisciplinary and developmentally sensitive approach designed for overweight teens. The goal of “fat camps” is to lose weight quickly while having fun. Most camper’s weight loss is a result of healthy diet, smaller portions, and increased activity. However, the differences between weight management programs and fat camps are not only the facilities, food and staff but the overall long-term result. Without dealing with the core issues (depression, co-dependency, food addiction), the weight will come back. Healthy Lifestyles provides intensive therapeutic and weight loss services for the whole teen, not just the problem with food or obesity.
In 2012, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese. Obesity has quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. Only 5% of adolescents aged 12–19 years were obese in 1980. In 2012, that percentage increased to 21%.
While obesity is easy to recognize, it is one of the most difficult medical conditions to treat. Teen obesity is rapidly becoming the most serious health issue facing youth today. The earlier teens work towards a healthy weight, the more likely they will grow into healthy adults and help reverse serious health conditions. The health risks of being obese are well-known and include but are not limited to:
- Hypertension or high blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Respiratory problems
- Joint pain
- Neurological impairments
Individualized Program Treating Teen Obesity
Residents of the Elk River Healthy Lifestyles Program receive a state-of-the-art individualized program based on their unique needs. Our program combines intensive counseling, fitness and nutrition education. In addition, weekly clinical exercise and nutritional assessments help facilitate safe weight loss. Residents attend individual and group counseling sessions to uncover core issues related to their eating disorder.
Parents are involved in family counseling at home and with Elk River campus therapists while their child is in treatment. Parents receive weekly progress reports and a personal workbook that mirrors their child’s program. The parent workbook promotes parent skills such as family-based problem solving, expressive communication, healthy limit setting and nurturing techniques. Family Workshops are usually held monthly during the child’s treatment. Workshops are intended to help families reconnect while working together on a plan for continued success.
Topics explored in counseling include, but are not limited to:
- Food addiction
- Stress management
- Limit setting
- Healthy self-nurturing behaviors
Highly-trained and caring staff work with residents to promote a positive self-image. Healthy food choices, physical conditioning, and academic success create the confidence teens need to stop excessive behaviors and pursue healthier, more active lifestyles. Elk River Healthy Lifestyles equips teens with the tools needed to build self-confidence and the motivation to maintain a healthy weight.
Social/Psychological Issues of Teen Obesity
Not only does teen obesity create serious medical problems, teens who are obese often struggle with social and psychological issues such as:
- Sedentary or Low Activity Level
- Disordered Eating Patterns
- Food/Drug/Alcohol Addiction
- Online Gaming Addiction
- Passive, Apathetic
- Low Self Esteem
- Poor Peer Relationships
- Poor School Performance
Long-Term Effects of Obesity in Teens
Consider the long-term health effects that a child faces if obesity continues:
- Children and adolescents who are obese are likely to be obese as adults and are therefore more at risk for adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis. One study showed that children who became obese as early as age 2 were more likely to be obese as adults.
- Overweight and obesity are associated with increased risk for many types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, gall bladder, thyroid, ovary, cervix, and prostate, as well as multiple myeloma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
At Elk River, long-term success is the ultimate goal for our residents. For more information about Elk River Healthy Lifestyles, contact our a licensed counselor at 866-906-TEEN (8336) or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit our YouTube Channel to hear what residents have to say about their experiences at Elk River.