Family

Agony Aunt: adolescent weight issues

Childhood obesity is a big problem in this country, but just because a teenage girl packs on a few kilos doesn't mean she suddenly needs to be put on a diet.

Dear Wendyl

I’m worried about my 13-year-old daughter, who has recently started putting on weight. I try to limit what she’s eating, but she says she’s hungry all the time, so I’m not sure if I’m doing the right thing. I also don’t want to set up some sort of eating disorder with her, so what can I do? oy husband says it’s just puppy fat and to leave her alone, but I really don’t want her to develop a weight problem.

Worried oum, by email

Dear Worried oum

Take a look around.

A lot of early-teenage girls start to fill out a bit, which is perfectly normal. I think the last thing you should do is comment to your daughter about her size or try to starve her. Chances are she’ll have another growth spurt and she’ll grow into a long, willowy piece of gorgeousness, but not if you’re hovering over her all the time, watching every mouthful and eyeing every piece of flesh. Instead, work to make sure she’s getting good food when she’s hungry.

often teens rush into the house starving, and go for the nearest and most convenient food source, which is junk food. Work with your daughter to have some healthy eating options ready in the kitchen and say they’re there for you and the rest of the family too. Yoghurt, cheese and crackers, bananas, toast and cottage cheese are all easy to prepare and at least she’ll be fuelling her growth spurts with good food as opposed to sugary treats.

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