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Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

Fat Teenagers and Exercise

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Every where you turn, we are all being encouraged to exercise more and eat less! There are exercise classes, gyms, and personal trainers everywhere, supposedly making it easier to give in to the pressure to exercise for your health. Schools are worried, public health is worried, parents are worried, and our children just keep getting heavier.

Unsupervised weight loss may lead to eating disorders, and for teens exercising more may be a much better answer than dieting. But what if you are a fat person, or worse, a fat teenager who is self-conscious about the wiggling and jiggling your body does when exercising? Peers are judgmental and critical, and no one likes being teased about their weight.

On top of that, have you ever noticed that the people exercising in gyms and classes are apparently the thin ones? Being a fat teenager is really tough! Our entire society is fixated on the "beautiful body" which is not heavy, fat, chubby, chunky, obese, or any "nice" word for fat!

There are weight loss programs, even ones that focus on kids, teens and families, but where are the gym classes for fat kids, the aerobics classes for the chunky ones? Is there a high school out there that offers a gym class for kids who are overweight?

We need to help teens become more physically active, and make it comfortable for them to join other people exercising, because everyone knows having a buddy and making exercising fun keeps us doing it. I think we need places where "people of substance" can feel comfortable!
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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.

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