Teens: Body Image and Weight Problems (cont.)

MEMBER QUESTION:
My son is about 25 pounds overweight, but he's only 13. What if he grows another foot in the next couple of years? Isn't there a chance he'll grow into his weight?

SCHWARTZ:
Chances are that if your son eats well, is physically active, and starts becoming an adolescent, his hormones will kick in and he will grow at least a foot more and the weight will not be an issue. It is up to you to teach your son to:

  • eat good foods
  • throw away the junk
  • become physically active

Your gift to him should be healthy, balanced life.

MEMBER QUESTION:
There are boys in my school who try to be huge because they are on the football team, but I know most of them will never be pros or probably even play in college. Should the coaches be encouraging these guys to eat like they do? It seems unethical to me.

SCHWARTZ:
It's a great question. You are questioning the ethics of a whole high school culture. I'm 100 percent with you, I believe if you care about the kids, you care about the well being of the teens and their successful reach to adulthood, so you may have to put the interest of the school second.

And you are right, most boys will not become pro football, pro baseball, pro whatever, most girls will not become pro cheerleaders Pushing them to extreme weight gain or loss to promote the school's interests is unfair and unkind.

If all parents provided the right support to their teens to say no, maybe the schools will have to follow suit. While it is easy to blame an outside source for our teen's weight problems we must remember that:

  • we must take full responsibility for the outcome
  • we must never give up in the example we set
  • we must never give up the support we provide our teens

MEMBER QUESTION:
Now that I have a much healthier way of eating, how do I get my kids to buy into it as well -- without food battles?

SCHWARTZ:
Congratulations! All we have is today and tomorrow. You don't have to get into fights with your kids. All you have is time to set the good example that you're already setting. Watch them and let them watch you, and they will follow you. Be patient with them and don't waiver from the course you're on. Good luck.

MODERATOR:
Dr. Schwartz, any final words for us?

SCHWARTZ:
While there is an epidemic of obesity among teens in the US today, it is not a tragedy that has to end with diabetes, heart disease, and other horrible chronic problems.

Instead, it is a wake-up call to all parents to take responsibility for helping their teens lead a more healthful balanced life from the very start.

The Teen Weight Loss Solution will serve you as a foundation for never having an obese teen again. I invite you to join my online community, if you have any questions, are interested in sharing your stories, or learning tips on how to make life better for yourself and your teens. I look forward to hearing you. The online community is www.drerika.com.

MODERATOR:
Thanks for joining us, members, and thanks to Erika Schwartz, MD. For more information, please read her book The Teen Weight Loss Solution: The Safe and Effective Path to Health and Self-Confidence.


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