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April 13, 2006

Type 2

Question from Bolingbrook, Illinois, USA:

My daughter is at risk for diabetes. I would to know what I need to do in order for her not to get diabetes. She is 5 feet, 1 inch and weighs 184 pounds. She does not exercise much and eats more than she should.

Answer:

You are right to be concerned. Excess weight in children and adolescents is on the rise in the U.S. Dealing with excess weight in the teenage girl is particularly challenging. There are several things you can do to encourage a healthy environment for your daughter. First, stock the kitchen with low fat, low calorie snacks–the new 100 calories snack packs are great. Fill the refrigerator with carrot or celery sticks, sugar free gelatin, fresh fruit, low calorie frozen treats. Will your daughter cook with you? Role model how to cook healthy foods. Have a cooking party with her and her friends.

Keep the emphasis on healthy things to do, not on your worry about her weight. Does she like to roller blade, dance, or walk the dog? Find ways to encourage these activities. Better yet, do some of them with her.

Finally, pay attention to your daughter’s emotional needs. The self esteem of teen girls is often linked to their weight. Go for a makeover together. Find flattering clothes.

Your support will be extraordinarily valuable as your daughter discovers ways to control her weight. Best of luck.

BS

[Editor’s comment: To get some other ideas, you might want to watch a new show on TLC (The Learning Channel), called Honey, We’re Killing the Kids.

BH]