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Raising Fit Kids: Healthy Nurtition, Exercise, and Weight

  This content is selected and controlled by WebMD's editorial staff in collaboration with Sanford Health Systems.

Teens, Body Image, and Self-Esteem: 5 Tips for Parents continued...

While it's important to have a positive body image, make sure it doesn't go too far. For example, in their quest for the perfect six-pack, some teenage boys exercise to an extreme, try to bulk up by using vitamins and supplements, or experiment with steroids. Watch for any dramatic changes in your teen's eating habits or weight, and consult his doctor if you have concerns.

5. Make good health a family affair.

Your entire family will be healthier if you avoid fast food, keep junk food out of the house, cook nutritious meals, and get active. But you don't have to do it all at once to make a difference. Just one small change can start building your and your teen's confidence and help you work toward bigger goals. Having other family members sharing in these new behaviors will make your teen feel less isolated and will also help keep the entire family healthier.

Try scheduling a regular family meal as a good first step. Studies have shown that eating regular, healthy family meals can reduce the risk of obesity in children. So start a nightly family dinner ritual if you don't have one already.

Then, instead of turning on the TV after dinner, suggest a family walk. You could also offer to join a gym and go with your teen. It's OK to start out slowly, maybe being more active once a week, and then walk or workout more often over time. If you make a healthy lifestyle part of your family culture, your child will develop good habits to last a lifetime.


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