Parents Offer Advice for Parenting Overweight Teens

(HealthDay News) – Parents of overweight or obese teens have identified challenges faced and practical advice that may be beneficial for other parents, according to a study published in the November issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

Kerri N. Boutelle, PhD, of the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, and colleagues conducted a qualitative study involving one-on-one interviews with 27 parents of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were either currently or previously overweight. The authors sought to identify the challenges faced by parents of overweight adolescents and advice that parents have for other parents in a similar situation.

During the course of these interviews, the researchers found that the most frequently mentioned issues were uncertainty regarding effective communication with teenagers regarding weight-related issues; inability to control adolescents’ healthful eating and activity-related decisions; concern for well-being; and feelings of guilt and responsibility. The most often provided parental advice included establishment of a healthful home environment; parental modeling of healthful behavior; and provision of support and encouragement in response to positive efforts.

“Findings from this study reveal that parents of overweight and obese adolescents face many issues and have a wealth of information to help other parents facing similar issues,” the authors write. “In terms of practice, study findings suggest that it may be helpful for health care providers to include family members in the treatment process as well as consider the adolescent’s level of autonomy and the context in which the adolescent fits into the family structure.”

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