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Healthy Attitudes Toward Food and Exercise

Topic Overview

There are many ways that adults can help children and teens develop a healthy approach to food and exercise.

  • Avoid punishing or rewarding your children with food.
  • Be a good role model for healthy eating and exercising.
  • Be a good role model by having a positive view of yourself, regardless of your body shape and size. (If this is a struggle of your own, stick to positive self-talk, especially around kids and teens.)
  • Examine your own thoughts about food and your weight, body, and shape. Are you always on a diet? Do you get upset or anxious if you miss a workout? Remember you are a powerful role model for your child.
  • Avoid judging other people's weight and size in front of your child or teen.
  • Do not tease or criticize your child about his or her weight or shape.
  • Avoid encouraging a young person to lose weight. Express love and concern for your child or teen, regardless of his or her weight. If you are worried about your child's health, ask your child's doctor to advise you and your child together.
  • Talk with the teen who wants to diet. Find out why the teen thinks he or she should diet, what his or her weight goal is, and how the teen wants to lose weight. If a teen is overweight, have him or her talk with a health professional who can give advice about how to diet safely.

For more information, see the topics Weight Management and Healthy Eating for Children.

Credits

Current as of: January 31, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
W. Stewart Agras MD, FRCPC - Psychiatry

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Here are a few additional resources as well: 

World Health Organization
Centers for Disease Control

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