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How To Help Your Overweight Teen

Obesity during the teenage years can be a difficult experience. It can limit opportunities, and further damage body image. Also, your teen’s attempts to diet may become a power struggle between yourself and your teen. How can you help your overweight teenager? Here’s some ideas:

1. Don’t use criticism or threats to motivate your over-
weight teen to lose weight. Help your teen to find his
or her own best reasons to slim down. Encourage your
teen to find a weight goal that is obtainable and comfortable.

2. Realize that dieting can be detrimental to your teen’s
health. Try modification instead. Clear the pantry of
junk foods. Substitute fresh fruits and lean meats.
Adopt new family eating habits, so that your teen
doesn’t feel singularly deprived.

3. Encourage your teen to exercise. This is the key to
permanent weight loss. Take walks with your teen, or
work out together, but don’t take over the problem.

Give him or her primary responsibility for losing or not losing weight. Let your teen that you are on his side, ready to help, and encourage the best efforts at weight control!

Dr. Wibbelsman, M.D., is an award-winning author and former “Dear Doctor” columnist for Teen magazine. Chair of Adolescent Medicine for the Permanente Medical Group, Northern California, he is chief of the Teen-Age Clinic at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in San Francisco, and an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco Medical School. Dr. Wibbelsman is the news anchor for a Bay Area television series, “Medicine in the Nineties”.

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