If you think teasing your teen about their weight is helping them, think again. You may be doing more harm. Harm that can last well into their adulthood having them turn to more food for comfort.
Being a teen can be a challenging time for many children and for teens who are overweight or obese, the challenges can be even greater.
A recent study shows that teens who are teased about their weight are more likely to become obese adults.
Researchers asked nearly 2,000 school aged children about whether they had been teased by other children, or family members, about their weight.
When they followed up with these children 15 years later, they found that those who answered yes were more likely to be obese adults, struggle with body image and develop unhealthy eating behaviors.
Leslie Heinberg, PhD, of Cleveland Clinic did not take part in the study, but says the results are a good indication that problems with weight-based teasing need to be addressed early on.
”One of the primary ways people cope with this bad experience is by eating – they fall back into comfort eating; they fall into disordered eating behaviors,” says Dr. Heinberg.
“What this study shows, is some of the dieting behavior they utilize can be really unhealthy,” says Dr. Heinberg.
Dr. Heinberg says one of the most interesting findings was that girls who were teased about their weight by family members, rather than peers, had the most problems as adults dealing with weight control and emotional distress.
”Peers or family members, they might tease, or give somebody a hard time about their weight – maybe not with malicious intent maybe they think, oh, this will be good. It will motivate them to lose weight, it will motivate them to eat in a healthy manner, however, its actually more likely to derail them,” says Dr. Heinberg.
Dr. Heinberg says home needs to be a place where children feel safe from teasing.
The first goal is to make home a healthy and safe environment in which teens aren’t feeling victimized about their weight, and giving them at least a safe spot at home where they don’t have those experiences, she says.
For parents who are concerned about their teens weight, Dr. Heinberg says its best to bring in a professional.
She recommends having a conversation with the child’s pediatrician before they’re seen.
They can tell you what a healthy weight is and develop appropriate strategies for addressing it.
OBESITY MAY BE PREVENTED BY:
(AVOID SODA, FAST FOOD, PROCESSED FOODS AND JUNK FOOD)
Teen Nutrition Meal Ideas at: http://www.stack.com/a/teenage-meal-plan
LESS SCREEN TIME
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