By now almost everyone has read or seen something about the controversial new ad campaigns in Georgia and elsewhere intended to shock our country out of denial regarding the obesity crisis in the U.S.
If you’re on this site, you may already be a concerned parent who doesn’t need a campaign ad to spur them into action. Now what? What’s our role as parents? Can teens manage their weight and get healthier on their own or do we need to shadow them like we did when they were learning how to walk or ride a bike? Are you sure you want fries with that? Did you eat any vegetables today? Whoah, watch the portion size on that entree…and did you check out the fat and sodium? Have you really been sitting on the couch all day while I’ve been gone?
The headline from a recent Time Magazine article discussing recently released research on overweight teen girls asks,
Good question and we think the answer is somewhere in the middle.
From the study:
“Most clinic-based weight control treatments for youth have been designed for pre-adolescent children by using family-based care. However, as adolescents become more autonomous and less motivated by parental influence, this strategy may be less appropriate.”
In other words, teens can almost resent our help which is counterproductive if we’re worried about them being overweight and/or unhealthy.
What we see every day on fitsmi.com is that once teen girls are pointed in the right direction, they want to take the reins on their own health and how they feel about themselves. For example, the fitsmi Change Machine helps them set their own personal goals and stay on track whether they’re at home or on the go. They can make small changes every day that add up to big changes in their lifestyle…and they can talk and support each other.
This is not to say that parents shouldn’t be involved. Quite the opposite. Kids who eat healthy meals and exercise with their family, do better. It’s also important to engage the child’s pediatrician in building a positive plan. In short, a family’s support can only help, but if a teen takes ownership of his/her health and weight, there’s a better chance for long-term success.
Not every child needs a helicopter mom, but we don’t know one child, including teens, who doesn’t need an advocate and loving role model.
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