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Melanie, 13, is disturbed about her weight. Her mother thinks she looks fine, but she doesn't quite make it into her bikini. Summer is coming, and she's beginning to panic. Could this be the beginning of anorexia? I cant stand looking in the mirror. I'm so fat - all these bulges and rolls of lard on my legs and hips - at least 8-10 pounds worth! I wish I could look like Amy. She looks great in those jeans she wore today, and I saw all the guys looking at her. I even saw Steve staring at her when she walked past us at lunch. I wish.... My Mom says I look just fine, but what does she know? In a few weeks we??ll all start going to the beach again, and I'll just die when everyone sees me in my swimsuit with all this fat.

Published in Health & Nutrition

Body weight, fat and dieting have captured the minds and imaginations of teenagers and adults alike. "Thin is in" and has stayed "in" for a long time now. The intense fear of becoming fat is usually not alleviated by any weight loss that the person achieves. To give you an idea of how much of a hold weight loss has on us, consider this: an estimated $33 billion is spent in the U.S. each year on diet books, over-the-counter medications, health club memberships and low calorie foods! Melanie is no different than millions of other teenagers and adults around the world.

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Caryn is very concerned about her daughter, Brooke, who looks too thin to her. She feels that Brooke may have gone too far with her diet. Caryn: Did you eat anything? Brooke: I had a half a bagel. Caryn: Did you put anything on it? Brooke: Mom, who are you? The Food Nazi? Caryn: I never see you eat anymore. You're getting so skinny. Brooke: Well, who told me I was fat in the first place? Caryn: I said that you should exercise.

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I have a 15-year-old son who smokes. Not much but it's only the start. We don't know how to make him understand the situation. His two grandfathers and one grandmother died from heavy smoking and he knows it. We (parents) were also smokers in the past but not now and he doesn't get it. Please help us. - Marcia A I hope some of these ideas will help you. It is not easy to explain the concept of mortality to a teenager. Remember that song from the TV series, "Fame"? There was a line in the song, "I'm gonna live forever." I think that's the way most teenagers look at life. You say that his two grandfathers and one grandmother died from heavy smoking and "he knows it.

Published in Health & Nutrition

Have you read Did You Eat Anything: A Drama yet? By Dr. Chane Deitcher, PhD. This is a classic example of a conversation between Mother and daughter who want to connect, yet lack the skills to communicate. The Mother is clearly concerned about her daughter's well being. She is attempting to convey the message that she cares. The daughter, on her part, is expressing her anger, yet at the same time indicating a need for the Mother's approval. Each is attempting to reach out, yet neither side knows how to connect. The overall experience is one of frustration and distance. Your Reflections The Mother begins by focusing on the food.

Published in Health & Nutrition

Teenage girls growing up today are bombarded about weight, diets, body image, and how they look from a very young age. The messages are constant, contradictory and confusing. On the one hand we are constantly being told : " you can't be too thin," " don't eat too much," " watch the fat," "exercise." On the other hand our mothers, teachers, and doctors are concerned that we might be too thin. So what's the scoop? How to find the balance? Your Reflections I think that is the million dollar question of the twenty first century. It is very hard not to be influenced by all the fashion models and movie stars we see that are seriously underweight.

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What's going on here? We've got a good mother, who clearly cares a lot about her daughter and wants her to eat and be healthy, but somehow instead of succeeding in feeding her daughter, the mother ends up feeling unhappy and frustrated. Here is an experience that most (if not all) parents share. You want the best for your child, you try to do what you feel is right and somehow, instead of everything working out as you planned, your child ends up ignoring you. So what should this mother be doing differently? In my opinion, the main problem here is that the mother needs to have realistic expectations and be able to adapt her parenting approach to her child's developmental level.

Published in Health & Nutrition

Charlotte is trying to feed her one-and-one-half year old daughter, Zoe, breakfast in her high chair. She has cut a banana into tiny pieces and is handing her daughter the pieces.Charlotte: Why don't you eat bananas? You used to love bananas. Zoe shakes her head. Zoe: No want nanas. Charlotte: Just a taste. Zoe: No want. Charlotte: Here, I'll mash it for you. It's yummy. Isn't it? Zoe clamps her mouth shut. Charlotte: You've got to eat. How are you going to grow if you don't eat? Zoe throws the bananas on the floor. Charlotte: Don't you do that. Zoe shakes her head no.

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Do you find that your child refuses to touch her plate if the noodles are too close to the meatballs? Or that even the slightest touch of burnt crust relegates an entire plate of food to the garbage pail? Well, you are not alone. It seems to me that most families have at least one picky eater and mine is certainly not immune. For the last five years, since my son spit out his first taste of strained carrot, I have been trying to figure out the answer to this question: How Can I Get This Kid To Eat? Here are some strategies that I use to help my picky eater get the nutrients he needs to grow.

Published in Health & Nutrition

More parents than ever before are considering using medication to treat their child's emotional or behavioral difficulties. (See Who's Drugging the Children?) If your physician or your child's teacher recommends medication for your child, consider this option, but carefully weigh the pros and cons of your decision before taking action. With few exceptions, using psychotropic medication with young children should always be a last resort after all alternate methods of treatment are shown to be ineffective or inappropriate. Here are some basic guidelines and issues to consider as you make your decision.

Published in Health & Nutrition
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