There is a lot of pressure on young athletes to keep their weight down. This article discusses the importance of following a healthy diet and monitoring the weight of athletic children.
The Needs of Children
Children of all ages need adequate amounts of energy to provide fuel for both their growth and their high activity level. When there is an increase in the amount of exercise, such as when the child is participating in a sport at a high level, the energy needs from food becomes even greater.
It is important to focus on getting enough energy and nutrients to match the amount of exercise being performed. It is important to explain to the child that they will perform better with sufficient energy and a well balanced diet. If the child is not maintaining a healthy growth rate, you can encourage them to eat their favorite foods to increase their total energy consumption.
The Pressure of Aesthetics
In sports in which aesthetics play a part, such as gymnastics, the participants are often pressured to keep a low body weight and body fat levels. You need to consider the age and participation level of the athlete, as keeping a low body weight is often not necessary and can be detrimental to their physical development. It may be worth attending one of your child's training sessions to observe what the instructors are advising them to do, as it may conflict to what you consider to be in the best interest of the child. Often young children are influenced by people they aspire to, and not all coaches have the right information or understanding of correct nutrition. In any case, if excessive weight loss is noticed, you should consult a doctor or dietician.
- Weight Loss for Athletes
- Making Weight: Tips for making weight using nutritional strategies.
- 5 Ways Athletes Can Lose Weight Safely — tips for athletes to lose weight greadually and safely.