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Why Summer Weight Loss Camps Emphasize Adequate Sleep at Night

Posted Mar 24 2009 3:44pm

At the beginning of each new year, or as the summer approaches, many people make resolutions to do something better or differently than the year previously. One of the more common resolutions is to lose weight and with today’s rising childhood obesity rates, it is likely that more and more children are making weight loss resolutions ever before. While a good weight loss camp for teens is a great way to get that process started, there are some things you can start doing now before summer arrives.

Studies have shown that a lack of sleep can contribute to weight gain. When a child stays awake, watching TV or playing video games, they don’t get enough sleep and rest to carry them through the next day. In turn, they lack the energy to go through their normal routine and are more likely to want to lie around because they are so tired. This creates an inactive lifestyle, which can lead to weight gain. Children that are constantly tired from a lack of sleep are less likely to participate in activities that involve movement and burn a lot of calories. When this inactivity is combined with an unhealthy diet, children gain weight. Parents must do what they can to prevent this from becoming the lifestyle their children live.

Unfortunately, this can create a never-ending cycle of late nights followed by inactive days. Toss in some unhealthy eating habits, and you have a road map for successfully gaining weight. As responsible parents, we need to ensure that our children do not get stuck in this cycle. At weight loss camps, they do their part to make sure campers get enough rest at night and burn plenty of energy throughout the day. However, you can begin taking some steps at home.

First, stop allowing your children to spend so much of their time doing “inactivities” like watching TV, playing on the computer, talking on the phone, etc. by simply placing a time limit on the amount of time the children have per day for each. The time previously spent on inactivites can now be spent on things that are more active in nature. The increased activity will allow the kids to burn more calories and can dramatically improve their health.

Parents must also ensure homework is done right after school and is not saved for after dinner. Children that do homework after dinner often stay up late to finish, resulting in fewer hours to sleep. Forcing kids to do homework after school will guarantee that they will have it completed long before bedtime and can get the rest they need every night.

Dealing with excuses for not going to bed is another common problem. Once bed time approaches, kids have a habit of suddenly needing a drink of water, a shower, or anything else that will allow them to stay up later. The first step in combating this issue is to make sure these things are taken care of earlier in the night. You can also help wear your kids out and make them tired at night by making sure they get some activity during the day. Give them some time to play outside or get them involved in extra curricular activities that take place after school where they will get some exercise.

Finally, a well balanced dinner is key. A good, square meal will help prevent late-night snacks that typically contain a lot of fat and sugars that keep children up later. A child that eats a well balanced, nutritional meal a few hours before bed will be much less likely to be raiding the pantry before bedtime or in the middle of the night.

The truth is that keeping your kids healthy is not that difficult, it simply requires some discipline in the two key areas of Diet and Exercise. Children that do not get the correct amount of sleep in a night are more likely to eat unhealthy foods and get less exercise. The result of this lifestyle is an overweight child. Parents can proactively address these issues by doing the things that are done at a weight loss camp for kids: limiting TV time, making kids to their homework after school, forcing kids to be more active, and providing a well balanced dinner.

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