Teens and Obesity: What Can Parents Do?

Denial runs deep in some families about what is a healthy weight. Sometimes parents are not able to recognize that their preteen or teenager is obese, often dismissing the issue with ‘their big boned” or “she’s a little on the heavy side.” Instead of disguising this serious health problem, parents need to help their teen admit and accept there’s a weight problem. Parents can do this in a compassionate and loving way that can help motivate your teen to improve their health and feel better about themselves. Talking to your teen about weight can get sticky fast. Here are some tips from Dr. Sylvia Rimm’s book, “Rescuing the Emotional Lives of Overweight Children”:

  • Confront your teen with the fact that they are seriously overweight by saying,”I know you realize that you are seriously overweight, and you may feel bad about that.”
  • Form an alliance with your teen on her path to a healthy lifestyle by telling her, “I want to help you become healthy and feel good about yourself.”
  • Use your knowledge of nutrition to teach your teen about calories and balance in her diet. Learn together about nutrition.
  • Teach your teen about appropriate portion sizes.
  • Serve healthy balanced meals to the entire family.
  • Assure your teen of your confidence in her capability to set limits on her eating.
  • Meet with a nutritionist.
  • Schedule an appointment with her doctor.
  • Enroll your teen in a teen weight control group.
  • Be a good role model for healthy eating and healthy activity.