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How can I help my teen maintain a healthy weight?

Weight is a sensitive issue for anyone, especially teens. The best approach to discussing your child's weight is positive, not nagging, forbidding foods or criticizing. These negative approaches not only will be unsuccessful, but can lead to harmful self-image issues.

Try these tips when helping your child address weight issues:
  • Help eliminate triggers of overeating, such as keeping high-calorie snacks off the kitchen counter.
  • Reassess your family's eating style. Evaluate portion sizes, recipe ingredients and meal frequency. Make gradual improvements together. Gradual changes often become permanent ones.
  • Engage in fun physical activities as a family. You'll all benefit.
  • Talk, listen and offer support and alternatives for emotional issues that trigger eating.
  • Keep nutritious, lower-calorie foods, including vegetables and fruits, on hand and convenient. Prepare family meals that support your teen's strategies for managing weight.
  • Most of all, be accepting. Your love doesn't depend on your teen's weight loss. Unconditional acceptance is important in promoting a positive self-image, which helps when trying to achieve a healthy weight.

Teens who are very overweight or obese need a healthful, realistic, safe way to manage their weight that includes both physical activity and a smart eating plan. Seeking the advice of a registered dietitian is another way to help your teen ensure proper nutrition.
Helping a teen maintain a healthy weight involves a combination of healthy eating habits, physical activity habits as well as social supports and an environment that encourages health behavior. For help with proper eating habits you can consult a registered dietitian or a wellness coach. For help with fitness advice you can consult a wellness coach or personal trainer who can help create an effective fitness program for your teen. By providing your child with good information and a positive environment to encourage those behaviors will help your child maintain a healthy weight.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.