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Teaching Good Eating Habits

by Sue Hubbard, M.D.

At the office today I spent a great deal of time with an obese teenager. Unfortunately she has had problems with her weight since she was a young child, but despite my best efforts at talking, encouraging, and teaching her about the dangers of obesity she has gained another 55 pounds in the past year, and she is only 15.

Last year during her check up, we talked about Weight Watchers, which I think is a great program that enables teens to eat “real food” with their friends, but to understand the point system and how many points they need in a day to lose weight in a sensible manner. Her mother started Weight Watchers after that visit and has lost 30 pounds and really feels great and is continuing the program. Her daughter has stopped and started and will not commit to the program, although she did say that she went back on two days ago in anticipation of her visit, so hopefully she will continue.

This made me think once again about the importance of healthy and nutritious eating from early childhood! Making a commitment to your children to buy healthy foods, make balanced meals, provide fruits and vegetables for snacks as well as at meal time and to have the whole family involved. Trying to change habits, tastes, and behavior surrounding eating is hard.

One of the biggest gifts parents can give their children is the concept of eating healthy foods, beginning at an early age.

I just wish I knew the magic words or menus to get teens to change poor eating habits. Obesity is a lifelong problem and unfortunately it is spiraling out of control.

That’s your daily dose, we’ll chat tomorrow.

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