4 Tools to Help an Obese Teen

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Childhood obesity can take a serious toll on a teen physically, emotionally, and socially. It can be difficult for parents to know how to help an overweight teen. One of the most important things you can do is be supportive, without being critical or shameful.  Begin by talking to your teen to determine how she feels about her weight. Together you can identify ways in which you can work together to create a healthier lifestyle.


1. Start Increasing Activity 

The best way to get your teen active is to model an active lifestyle. Work together to become a more active family. Most teens will quickly grow bored with exercising on a treadmill at a gym, so it’s important to look for activities that your teen is likely to enjoy. 

If your teen isn’t interested in joining a sports team, look into local pools, dance and exercise classes, walking or other activities that encourage movement. Ask your teen what she would like to try and work together to problem-solve strategies to help your teen become more active.

 2. Use Technology to Your Advantage 

Technology can make living a healthier lifestyle easier and more engaging for teens. There are free weight loss apps that track caloric intake as well as keep track of physical activities.

Teens can scan packages to measure caloric intake, portion sizes and identify how their activity levels impact their weight. 

My Fitness Pal is an example of a free app that can be used to help teens lose weight, track their weight loss and it can connect them with other people who are working on weight loss goals.

 3. Consult the Pediatrician

Talk to your teen’s pediatrician to gain education about a reasonable weight for your teen’s height and age. The pediatrician can give your child appropriate weight range statistics, information on how to maintain healthy weight loss, and identify any potential risk factors. The pediatrician may want to screen for diabetes, high blood pressure or thyroid conditions.

Regular appointments with can help increase your teen’s compliance with a weight loss program. Another benefit of meeting with a pediatrician is that the doctor may be able to communicate health concerns to your teen. Even if you’ve already said the exact same thing, hearing from a medical professional can make a difference for many teens. The pediatrician may also make a referral to a dietitian or nutritionist to help your teen maintain a healthy diet. 

4. Help Your Teen Make Healthy Food Choices

Many parents struggle to get teens to eat anything other than pizza, chips, and ice cream. If your teen craves unhealthy food, it’s especially important not to keep these food choices in the house.

Your teen won’t be successful in losing weight if other people in the house are still eating a lot of junk food. Don’t single your teen out by putting her on a diet. Instead, work toward the entire family making healthier food choices. Educate yourselves about portion sizes and work together to find healthy recipes.

Weight loss takes time and hard work. It’s important to validate your teen’s feelings about losing weight and to continue talking about strategies to help reduce overeating and stick to making healthier choices.

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