Do you remember your summers as a kid were spent running around the neighborhood from house to house, riding bikes, climbing trees, swimming and playing? Today’s kids are less active and research shows that summer vacation is a danger zone for childhood obesity.
Eliza Kingsford, CEO of Empowered Wellness Camp, spoke to Lauren Phinney about teen weight loss, self love, and body image.
One such celebrity embracing Eliza’s messaging is Jennifer Lopez, as a mom, Lopez is trying to teach this message of self-love to her 10-year-old daughter, Emme Maribel Muñiz. “The one thing I really want to teach her is to love and respect herself first and to make sure she commands respect from others,” Lopez said. “I try to get her to focus on the things that matter: being a good person, friend, and daughter, being happy with herself, and doing the things she loves.”
Kids are spending more time on screens and are snacking on food that’s always around which is directly linked to rising obesity levels. Especially vulnerable are kids who are already overweight or obese and poorer minority children. Layer on top of that the impact of the media, social media and societal pressures and we have a foolproof recipe for kids to gain weight in the summer.
We know that kids are especially susceptible to overeating junk food when three things align just right.
• Kids tend to have a high-food reward response
• Kids have lower impulse control
• When kids have access to Junk food.
This is why summer is especially risky, kids have different access to junk food than they might have had during the more structured school year, they generally have a high food reward response, and they are known for having lower impulse control. Junk food, in particular, activates the parts of the brain that are susceptible to these three factors and will drive kids to overeat. Boredom is also a large driver of overeating due to the constant stimulation that kids have grown accustomed to.
So What Can Parents Do?
Parents Prepare for Summer with These Tips:
1. Make a weeks worth of healthy snacks, don’t have junk food in the cabinets making sure you have a healthy visual appeal for kids after camp or play dates. Parents should know that certain high-fat and sugar-added, processed foods can be as powerful as an addiction to cigarettes and narcotics.
2. Being the Director of the nation’s top leading summer camp that empowers teens and young adults to eat better and stay active, my top suggestion to avoid kids gaining weight is to enroll your child in summer camp or supervised community activities that will provide opportunities to keep your child active to prevent weight gain. If you are able to send your child to a summer camp program, I encourage you to do so.
3. If camp is not an option, I recommend parents create a fun active summer ideas grid that incorporates physical activity into each day. Its pretty simple and you can get your kids involved in creating a calendar that makes suggestions for each day to incorporate into their summer.
4. Keep meal and sleep patterns at home the consistent with school schedules.
About: Eliza Kingsford, is a licensed psychotherapist with an intense passion for helping people heal their relationship to food. She’s the author of Brainpowered Weightloss, an 11-step first-of-its-kind program that enlists dozens of mind-altering and behavior-changing exercises and techniques for readers – to regain how they feel around food and how to attain weight loss success for life. She specializes in body image, weight management, eating disorders and food addiction.