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How to Help an Overweight Teen

Adult attitudes toward overweight teens have a big impact on their motivation to shed pounds. Here's how to help them.


  • Step 1: Don’t call them overweight Don’t openly refer to the teen as overweight. This may make them feel ashamed and could make matters worse.
  • Step 2: Ask if you can help them Volunteer to help them become healthier rather than suggest they lose weight. Keep the focus on health rather than diet and weight loss.
  • TIP: Encourage family meals together at the table instead of in front of the television, which can lead to overeating.
  • Step 3: Don’t suggest dieting Suggest fun forms of exercise and activities instead of dieting. Cooking together and exploring healthy food options will keep the focus on healthy lifestyles.
  • Step 4: Don’t push things on teens Employ gentle encouragement instead of pushing anything on an overweight teen. Their willingness to want to lose weight must, and will only, come from them.
  • Step 5: Set an example Model healthy lifestyle habits, including what you eat. Make sure your relationship with food is healthy – examples are powerful motivators.
  • TIP: Engage in physical activities together such as bicycling, jogging, hiking, and rollerblading.
  • Step 6: Show love and support Show consistent love and support whatever they do.
  • FACT: Did you know? In a study, lifting weights twice a week reduced the insulin resistance responsible for causing diabetes in overweight children and adolescents.

You Will Need

  • Patience
  • Understanding
  • Awareness of your own healthy behaviors
  • Family meals (optional)
  • Group exercise (optional)

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