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Proper Exercise & Weight Control for Underweight Teens

by Tiffany Raiford

Many teens worry about their weight, but most are worried about losing weight. If your teen is underweight, get serious about her health and learn the proper techniques for weight control. Her health and well-being depend on proper exercise and nutrition. Just because she’s not overweight, doesn’t mean she’s healthy.

Healthy Weight Gain Through Diet

Making small changes to your underweight teen’s meals is one way to help him gain weight in a healthful manner, according to the Center for Young Women’s Health. For example, you can replace your skim milk and other nonfat and low-fat dairy products with whole milk and other whole dairy products. You can also start cooking meals with healthier oils such as olive and canola, and add nuts whenever possible because they are a healthful way to add weight and calories to any diet. Your underweight teen’s goal of weight gain is not an excuse for him to overindulge in unhealthful foods such as cookies and ice cream.

Energy

One of the most important aspects of gaining weight for underweight teens is their vitamin and mineral intake. According to a web page on the University of Minnesota website, your teen needs to increase her vitamin intake to increase her energy levels, which will help her gain weight and become healthier. For example, adding vitamins such as zinc, iron, folate and calcium, and additional protein, gives your teen the energy she needs to gain weight and become healthier.

Exercise

According to the Family Doctor, a website designed by doctors for reference, your underweight teen should get plenty of exercise. While you might consider exercise something you do to lose weight, exercise is about weight control and overall body health. Because aerobic exercises tend to burn more calories and your teen needs those calories to gain a healthy amount of weight, muscle building exercises are a better choice. For example, your underweight teen can lift weights or practice yoga to help build muscle and weight.

Healthy Weight Gain Time Frame

Just like weight loss, weight gain is something your teen should take her time with. It’s not healthy to lose a lot of weight all at once, and it’s not healthy to gain it back all at once. According to the Center for Young Women’s Health, your underweight teen should focus on gaining 1 to 2 pounds each week. While she might not be able to gain the same amount each week, her overall weight gain should average 1 to 2 pounds per week.

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