It’s no secret that America has a big problem with obesity. And, while this condition used to just affect adults, it is now becoming more and more common in children. In fact, it is estimated that one in every three children and teens is overweight. And, while you might think that playing sports is a good way for kids to keep the pounds away, a little more than a quarter of young athletes are still considered overweight.
For these children who struggle with their weight, getting involved in youth hockey or other physical activities is one of the best things that they can do. However, just because a child takes up sports doesn’t 100% guarantee that he or she will start to shed the pounds.
For those children who play sports and who still cannot lose extra weight, other factors are likely at play.
The Power of the Plate
Being physically active increases a child’s natural hunger drive. As a result of this fact, children who engage in athletics tend to eat more. Unfortunately, though, if they are not burning off the extra calories they eat, this can easily lead to weight gain.
Some of the worst culprits for causing extra calorie intake and, thus, weight gain in children are things like soda, candy, chips, highly processed foods, and even seemingly “healthy” items like sports drinks or juice. Keeping track of calories and ensuring the child is burning off more than he or she consumes is an easy way to help encourage weight loss in young athletes.
Feeling The Burn
We all know that doing physical activity burns calories, but sometimes, certain activities don’t burn quite as many calories as we think.
While youth hockey is fairly good at killing calories, you have to consider that the more time kids spend on the bench, for example, and the less intensive their games, the fewer calories they are going to burn.
As such, don’t just automatically assume a child athlete is scorching through thousands of calories and can eat anything he or she wants. Food consumption still has to be kept in check!
Education = Empowerment
If you have an overweight child athlete at home and/or coach or help on a team that has one or more overweight young players, consider hosting or attending some kind of fun “nutrition seminar” that is geared toward children.
Children don’t really understand healthy weight or healthy choices…unless someone educates them. By teaching them about smart choices, encouraging them to be active, and following the other tips discussed here, however, it is more than possible to make a positive change!