Teen Body Image: Celebrities open up about their Eating Disorders

Body image can be as important to teens as who their friends are.  Girls and boys alike can be teased or bullied by others for a variety of reasons, however if a teen feels comfortable in their own skin, the likelihood of them allowing the bullying to hurt them is less likely.  Many teens turn to the celebrities – they look at the pencil thin girls, the guys with six pack abs and hopefully realize most of this is simply Hollywood or photo-shop!  Below is a special guest post by Meg Quinlan.

Celebrities Break Barrier of Shame

Whether they wish for it or not, celebrities are role models. Fans follow them in their work, consume the media that examines their lives, and discuss them online and in real life. Their bad behavior is widely publicized, but what about those that are making a positive difference? These stars, all themselves survivors of eating disorders, are speaking out about their own battle and helping to raise awareness about this serious medical problem. They are making a difference, and are part of the solution to the shame and secrecy preventing many victims of eating disorders from seeking help. Here are their stories.

Actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler was a typical overachiever. Bright and talented, she filled her schedule with school, acting, student council, teaching kids and studying for the SATs. During her junior year, after a painful breakup with a boyfriend, she began to focus on losing weight. She says “all of a sudden, I felt like everything in my life was getting out of control, and here was one thing I could control.” She adopted a strict regimen of diet and exercise typical of those with exercise bulimia, her particular eating disorder. Her obsession changed and isolated her: physically, she withered to a skeleton; formerly a social butterfly, she now avoided going out with friends and exercised instead for hours; and she wrote down everything she ate, when she ate it, and when she exercised. She recalls that one day her mother hugged her, then burst into tears because she could feel all of Jamie’s bones. Her turning point came when she realized how unhappy her life had become, and she began five months of therapy to rebuild her confidence and her body. Now author of a book called Wise Girl – What I’ve Learned About Life, Love, and Loss and honored by the National Eating Disorder Association for her work on their behalf, she is resolute but realistic. She says, “The eating disorder is always going to be with me. But what I went through was traumatic enough and enough of a learning experience that I would never fall so deeply again. I’m so much happier now.”

Singer and Disney actress Demi Lovato has been in the news recently, speaking out about her eating disorder and treatment. Bullied in school, she started compulsively overeating at age 8 and soon had anorexia, which by her teenage years had escalated to include self-harm, depression, and bulimia. At 18 years old, her family and management team had an intervention, and she entered a residential treatment center. There she learned healthy ways to cope with her feelings, and resolved to set a good example for her little sister and her young fans that may be dealing with the same issues. Today she considers herself still recovering, and tries to be realistic about her progress, saying “I’m going to mess up, and I’m not going to be perfect, but as long as I try every day to get better and better myself, then I’m one step ahead of where I was before.” She now is working with Seventeen Magazine and the Love is Louder campaign for at-risk girls, and is a spokesperson for Teens Against Bullying.

Dancer, singer, and American Idol judge Paula Abdul began purging in high school, as a way to control her weight in the competitive and body-conscious world of dance. She describes her young self as a perfectionist and an overachiever, and as top honor student, class president and head cheerleader, it looked like she had it all. Yet at only 5’2”, she felt she was at a disadvantage against her fellow cheerleaders and dancers. She describes her bulimia as “a war on my body. Me and my body have been on two separate sides.” She continued this war during her rise to stardom as an L.A. Lakers cheerleader, choreographer, and then singer. After a painful divorce in 1994, she finally came to terms with her eating disorder and checked herself into treatment. Then ashamed, she tried to keep it a secret. Now, she is a spokesperson for the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) and says “I’m more proud of my recovery than of selling millions of records.”

Aussie rocker Daniel Johns of Silverchair and the Dissociatives began restricting his eating in his teens in an attempt to look ill. He was defying convention at school, wearing makeup and playing in a band, and was getting beaten up by bullies and called gay slurs. As for looking ill and deterring his bullies, “unfortunately it worked,” he says, “because then I was addicted to it and couldn’t start eating again.” Convincing himself that food was poisoned, he wouldn’t go to restaurants, and couldn’t bear the smell, look, or even to be around a discussion of food. He explains that his disorder had nothing to do with body image, and everything to do with a desire for control. “Every time…I felt that my life was out of control…I took control of food intake, because it was the only thing that no one could really take charge of.” He realized how much control he had actually lost when more than one doctor told him he was dying. Anti-depressant medications, along with the support of the people around him and his music, helped free him from the addiction that threatened his life. Later, like many who talk publicly about their addictions, he was criticized for self-promotion, which he dismissed. “When you get letters that say, ‘You’ve helped me admit to anorexia,’ and… ‘I was gonna kill myself until I heard this album,’ that makes people that say, ‘You’re exploiting your problems,’ just seem like such a little speck in the dirt.”

Actress Elisa Donovan was never overweight, but that fact didn’t stop her from increasingly restrictive dieting. She says she thought the more weight she lost, the happier she would be, yet she would only see specific body parts that she thought looked “enormous.” She continued to lose weight until her friends started to express their concern, her hair fell out in clumps, and she fainted several times. After being hospitalized, she finally sought treatment and realized how her disorder had restricted her life-she would never go out for lunch or dinner, and as she says, “I was so unhappy with myself, I didn’t answer my phone.” Speaking out has helped her, as has the desire to be a healthy role model. She advises, “There is no connection between the shape of your body and whether you can succeed, or whether you’re a smart person or a good person.”

Shame and isolation are still barriers that prevent many victims from seeking help. Every survivor of this illness can help others by speaking out, even if they aren’t followed by thousands of fans. Watch for our next installment, where we profile five regular people that have beaten an eating disorder and hear their stories.

For more information about eating disorders or to get help, please visit the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) website or call their helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

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Eating Disorders, Body Image, Self-Esteem: Where Does a Parent Start?

Be aware of your teen's emotions.

How am I supposed to bring this up with my kids? I don’t know where to start.

Initiating a conversation about someone else is a neutral, non-threatening way to broach the topic. If you hear that someone in your child’s school has an eating disorder, that is an appropriate time to bring it up. Your child already knows or will hear rumors soon, and may have questions that you can answer. If you don’t have any examples closer to home, there are frequently stories of celebrities in and out of treatment.

One that your child may already know is Demi Lovato, a teen actress and singer who has been in numerous Disney movies and TV shows. She entered a residential treatment center last fall, and in April 2011 she gave a few interviews where she discussed some pretty heavy topics.

She discussed being bullied as a child, and her subsequent depression, eating disorder, and self-mutilation, as well as her recent diagnosis with bipolar disorder, her recovery, and helping other girls in her new role with Seventeen Magazine. Here are a few sources for you that condense her story: an article that summarizes Demi’s disorders and treatment or this video where Demi discusses being bullied, her eating disorder, cutting, and her treatment.

Chances are, your children already know her story, and have heard about people at school doing things like skipping meals, purging, or cutting. Demi’s life may not have been that of a typical child, but we can use her story to check in and connect with our children.

Why should I be concerned if my kid is on a diet? I’m on a diet too.

You as an adult are more likely to have your diet in the proper perspective. Kids and teens, especially perfectionist, driven, rule-bound ones, can take things too far until it is a compulsion they cannot control. In her interview, Demi said that by fifteen years old, she was skipping most meals, and when she failed to lose weight, started throwing up. Take stock of your own eating habits – ditch the rules about food, weighing portions, or calorie counting, and instead focus on eating mostly nutritious food, only when you are hungry. Also, never cut yourself down for your weight or what you eat, or be critical about others’ weight or appearance. Before you say it, think how it would sound coming out of a child’s mouth.

My son has been losing weight, but it’s for sports, so that doesn’t count, right?

It’s true that girls and women are more likely to develop eating disorders, but out of eleven million suffering from ED today, one million of those are male. Check over the list of symptoms below, and pay attention to your instinct as a parent. If anything about the way your son is losing weight concerns you, talk to him and talk to a professional. Better safe than sorry!

What’s the difference between an eating disorder and a diet? Or, what are the symptoms of an eating disorder?

It’s possible to diet without developing an eating disorder, but most medical professionals agree that children should not be on any diets.

Where the two differ, however, is the ability or inability to think logically and rationally. So when a normal dieter looks in the mirror and sees progress, anorexics have a distorted view and cannot see themselves as anything but fat. Their irrational compulsion justifies extreme measures, like purging, skipping entire meals, and laxatives. A medical professional or therapist can help with an accurate assessment and diagnosis, but let your instinct as a parent serve as an early warning system. You are often the first to know when something is up with your child, even if you aren’t sure what it is.

Be watchful for these symptoms:

  • Different eating habits, diet plans, skipping meals, snacks, meat, or desserts, avoiding eating with others
  • Distorted, negative self-image
  • Eating alone, in secret, or at night
  • Avoiding social situations that involve food
  • Change in moods including depression, anxiety, withdrawal, irritability, obsessive behavior in other activities
  • Preoccupation with dieting, calories, food, cooking, diet books, what others are eating
  • Visiting websites that promote unhealthy weight loss
  • Any weight loss, weight gain, or failure to make expected gain in height
  • Compulsive exercising
  • Taking laxatives, diet pills, or steroids
  • Making excuses to get out of eating
  • Going to the bathroom right after meals, running water to hide vomiting sounds
  • Wearing loose clothing to hide weight loss or body shape
  • Hoarding high-calorie food, or evidence of binge eating (food wrappers, quantities of food disappearing)

If I suspect they are hiding something, should I snoop in their things?

If you are truly concerned for their safety, you are justified in violating their privacy. This is a last resort, however, and there are ways to avoid it unnecessarily. Are you sure you can’t draw it out in a conversation? If you are just curious, or feeling out of touch, you should instead be working on building your relationship. If you are paying for your son or daughter’s cell phone, internet service, and car payments, you can establish upfront rules about their use that don’t leave them feeling violated.

Be judicious with what you find. If it’s serious, such as laxatives, weapons, drugs, evidence that they are being bullied or stalked by a predator, act on it immediately. They will of course be furious and hurt, but the danger to them is substantial. If you find something upsetting but not dangerous, such as communication complaining about you, first take a deep breath, try to remember what it was like to be a teenager, and let go of your anger. Then work on strengthening your connection.

I’ve seen signs, and now I’m worried. How do I ask my son or daughter if they have an eating disorder?

If you have reason to believe there is a problem, tell them you are concerned without using guilt or blame. Begin by saying, “We have noticed this. Let’s talk.” Skip the lecture, ask open questions, and do more listening than talking. Show compassion and patience. Don’t accuse, shame, or demand anything (except, of course, a visit to a doctor).

Find a therapist that has experience and training in eating disorders. Educate yourself with the resources available from reputable sources such as the National Institute of Mental Health site, the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) Parent Toolkit, or call the NEDA Helpline at 800-931-2237. also has a good basic guide for family and friends.

Why is our son or daughter doing this? Is it my fault?

Finding who to blame should not be your first action. However, the question may nag you whether you as a parent have contributed to your child’s condition. Parents do not cause eating disorders. Studies have found that someone can inherit a predisposition, but there are many other factors involved. Like in Demi’s case, where she suffered from depression first, and was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder, ED is often combined with other mental conditions such as depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, or anxiety. Personality traits like perfectionism, eagerness to please, and being highly driven seem to correlate. ED patients come from every sort of family, every ethnicity, cultural background, and economic status. Parents can, however, be instrumental to recovery.

Be an educated parent, you will have healthier teens.

Continue reading on Talking to your teens about eating disorders – Jacksonville Parenting Teens |

Sue Scheff: Ten Shocking Facts About Your School Cafeteria

The news today of childhood obesity, the food revolution now being created into a reality show with Jamie Oliver, parents are becoming more aware of what their kids are eating and what schools are serving.  If you are in Broward County, Florida please vist Food and  Nutrition Services for our school districts food service.

In spite of their ubiquity and undeniable necessity, many school cafeterias across the world have fallen victim to hefty criticism regarding their prominent role in the rise of obesity and its related health issues in the United States. Because childhood and adolescent eating habits come to influence those later found in college and work environments, it is integral that they learn and understand how to make the best choices when it comes to selecting nutritious meals and snacks for themselves.

The following facts – whether the titular “shocks” come as negatives or positives – provide a brief, well-rounded glimpse into the fundamentals of what needs vast improving and what is currently opening doors to empowering children and teenagers towards taking charge of their bodies and diets to ensure the most physically stable future possible.

1. The annual mean wage of those serving school cafeteria food is $21,450 a year.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that cafeteria workers in elementary and secondary schools – of which there were around 31,350 in 2008 – earn an average yearly mean wage of $21,450. This comes to around $10.32 per hour. Should the cafeteria worker in question support a family containing four people or more with these wages as the only source of income, he or she would meet the United States Department of Health and Human Services poverty guidelines for the 48 contiguous states and Washington, DC. In Alaska, a family of 3 trying to survive off this salary is considered living in poverty, and the same size would be only just above the criteria in Hawaii. A family of 4 in the latter faces considerable poverty. Working in a cafeteria entails considerable physical taxation, with quite a bit of time spent on the feet. Preparing and reheating large amounts of food requires involved labor that puts quite a bit of stress on the arms, back, and legs especially.

2.  Food poisoning is not common, but it happens more than it should.
A 2004 investigative report by Dateline pulled back the curtain on many of the practices and issues associated with preparing and consuming school cafeteria food. Though thankfully considered “isolated incidents” in most areas, the fact that at one point 45 students and a teacher in a St. Louis school all fell ill with food poisoning – some of which had to undergo hospitalization – after eating cafeteria offerings demands pause. Especially considering that, in the same year, 7 students and a teacher in New Jersey suffered from salmonella as a result of opting for cafeteria food. There are numerous reasons for why food poisoning can seep into a school’s meals, too. Inadequate equipment in older schools can lead to poorly cooked food that harbors dangerous bacteria. Bits of edible detritus strewn about the floor can attract pests such as cockroaches and rats.

Some cafeterias, like one in Detroit mentioned in the article, are unable to provide their workers with the supplies needed to sanitize their hands and equipment before preparing meals. These and other serious issues can all lead to the spread of food-borne illnesses. While gratifyingly rare, this still means that many school districts are carelessly playing “Russian roulette” with the very students they are trying to protect and educate. Most cases of food poisoning do not require hospitalization or result in a death, of course, but they can still make the victim feel ill enough to keep from attending classes.

3. School cafeterias can face numerous health violations.

Dateline’s companion piece to the previous article points out the myriad critical health violations that have been slapped on cafeteria workers and establishments. Most of these – such as the presence of vermin, ill employees handling food, improper temperatures, inadequate hand washing, poorly labeled toxic cleaning supplies, dirty utensils and equipment, and cross-contamination – can lead to extreme sickness, hospitalization, and even death depending on the gravity of the offense. School cafeterias generally receive their inspections from the local health department, though some independent agencies may perform them as well. Full reports can be found online through those with their own websites, and those without will provide them in person or over the phone. Invoking the Freedom of Information Act may be a requirement for some of these, however. In order to understand every implication of these reports, reviewing all of the data available through the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety Research Information Office will provide all the necessary terms and concepts that go into keeping consumables safe and healthy.

4. Kids really DO go for healthier options!

Stereotype dictates that students gravitate towards unhealthy snacks laden with sugar, caffeine, grease, sodium, preservatives, and other little nasties. The prevalence of vending machines that distribute these “junk foods” (and drinkshas fallen under quite a bit of criticism for its correlation with childhood obesity and associated health problems. However, these vending machines allegedly give the kids what they want as well as generating some modicum of funding for the school. Those with sponsorship by fast food chains and major soda purveyors grow especially reluctant to discourage these unhealthy eating and drinking habits lest Pizza Hut or Pepsi pull out.

A positive article penned by freelance writer and journalist Michael Maser and hosted at Arizona State University looks into how one school cafeteria in Colquitlam, British Columbia, Canada began offering fresh, organic, and whole grain options alongside the usual fare. Even when charging between $2.50 and $4, teachers and students alike flocked towards the soups, salads, and baked goods – voicing their appreciation at the school’s efforts to broaden their offerings and cater to those concerned about ingesting too many unpleasantries. Another case study at an Appleton, Wisconsin alternative school showed promise when students were provided access to free juices and whole-wheat bagels and enthusiastically embraced them over sodas and candy. Kids are far more aware of how to eat healthy than many people believe, and allowing them to make a choice for themselves may very well result in some pleasing surprises.

Part 2 –>  Next 6 shocking facts

Source: Samantha Miller – of University Reviews Online

Sue Scheff: Teens and Eating Disorders

Lori Hanson is an Award winning author, speaker and mentor.  After reading her first book, It All Started with Pop-Tarts, I was impressed with her ability to share her own journey with Bulimia as well as her private life.  Most recently she released her book for teens, Teen Secrets to Surviving & THRIVING, again, another fantastic book. Lori is dedicated to others in helping them better understand eating disorders as well as motivating people in a positive direction.  Learn more at Learn2Balance.

teeneatingdisorerMy Daughter Has an Eating Disorder and I Don’t Get It

By Lori Hanson

The bombshell drops. Your precious little girl or boy has an eating disorder. For some parents they suspect and have to figure out how to confront their child. For others, they are blissfully unaware until their child confides in them. 85% of eating disorders start between the ages of 13-20.

Finding out your child has an eating disorder stirs up numerous emotions for a parent. The first reaction seems to start with questions of how could this happen? I was a good parent! Then guilt sets in and for many parents, mom’s in particular they quickly jump on the thought train of what am I going to do to fix it? How can I make it go away quickly and make my child normal again. The embarrassment is there along with the  guilt. For some there is a feeling of betrayal because their child, teen or young adult didn’t tell them about he eating disorder, or didn’t tell them sooner.

But what parents and loved ones don’t understand is why it is so difficult for the child or young adult to tell them. First, it’s incredibly difficult for the individual suffering with an eating disorder to admit to themselves that they have a problem. It’s a behavioral addiction which means it’s a “psychological” thing. Which means there is something mentally wrong. And most individuals aren’t anxious to join that club. Second, the embarrassment, guilt and shame of the eating disorder behavior makes it incredibly difficult to share with family or loved ones. It’s not about betrayal. Third, one of the core characteristics of eating disorders is isolation (in addition to obsession with food, body and more.)

So when the news comes out via an intervention or when the individual suffering approaches loved ones for help just remember, both the individual with the eating disorder and their loved ones are hurt, confused, feeling guilt, embarrassment and shame. Underneath all the embarrassment, the parents core sentiments is usually, “How can I help them recover? What’s the best way to support them?” And depending on where the individual with the eating disorder is on their path, their core sentiment may be denial or wanting to get help.

For the individual suffering the obsessiveness of the behavior is draining, scary and totally controls them. As much as they may want to stop, the fear of losing the control they gain through the disorder is often paralyzing. At the root is low self-esteem, but that is only one of the factors that contributes to an eating disorder.

For most who suffer, they lack the courage to communicate freely, to set appropriate boundaries, and to express their emotions, positive or negative.  The eating disorder behavior helps them numb out and disengage from life and other people. It provides a quiet solitude which evolves into a living hell of isolation and obsession. Digging out on their own to improve self-esteem and gain much needed self-confidence isn’t something most can do on their own.

A holistic approach to treating eating disorders teaches the individual healthy communication skills, helps them improve self-esteem and understand the causes of their addictive behavior. It is critical to understand and address the body and brain chemistry through diet, nutrition and nutritional supplements which helps move the individual beyond “willpower” and gives much needed nutritional support and objectivity. Reprogramming negative thoughts and beliefs is key to recovery and lastly improving mental and physical health with body work rounds out the circle of a solid holistic approach.

So parents, before you get consumed in anger, hurt, embarrassment and try to figure out to make the problem go away quickly realize that as a behavioral addiction it runs deeps and won’t go away with simple comments of “honey, why don’t you just eat.” Unfortunately, this is something the individual suffering has to change, as parents and loved ones you can’t fix it for them. Find a pactitioner your child relates to and a treatment facility that is family oriented and a parent advocate. Healing an individual from an eating disorder can and should have a positive effect on the entire family!

In peace, balance and health,


Lori Hanson
Award-winning author, It Started With Pop-Tarts…An Alternative Approach to Winning the Battle of Bulimia
Speaker and Life Balance Consultant

Sue Scheff: Young Anorexics

teenbingeatEspecially young girls today, the peer pressure can encourage your young teen/tween that being “thin” is in.  Teen body image can lead to other concerns, whether your child is suffering with some depression, not being able to fit in at school, or just plain feeling fat and ugly – we need to talk to them and explain about Teens and Eating Disorders, including anorexic.  Teen Obesity is another issue parents need to learn more about.

Source:  Connect with Kids

“I think that it definitely had something to do with my mom and my sister talking about different diets, and at that age …you don’t understand everything that they are discussing and the way that they’re discussing it, and in my head I blew it up as something bigger.”

– Shay Fuell, recovering anorexic

About 2.5 million Americans suffer from anorexia. Shay Fuell was only nine years old when the fixation began.

“(I) was starting to have body-image issues and looking in the mirror sideways and just pinching my skin seeing if there was fat there,” she says.

A few years later, she was 5-feet-2 and weighed 78 pounds.

“Literally, it becomes [a part of] every thought … in your head,” she says. “You can’t think about anything else. You can’t concentrate on anything. You can’t even hold a conversation with somebody because you are thinking about the last meal that you ate or what you should be doing to work out or how you’re going to be able to throw up without anybody knowing.”

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the number of girls under the age of 12 hospitalized for eating disorders has more than doubled since 1999.

“I don’t know if they’re actually developing them younger or if it’s that parents are having a greater awareness of what’s going on with their children,” says Brigette Bellott, Ph.D., a psychologist and eating disorder specialist.

What’s going on, typically, is depression, children obsessed with eating or overly anxious about their weight and their appearance.

“Things to watch,” says Bellott, “what do they believe about their own body? I mean I would ask that:  “What do you think about your body, how do you feel about it?”

Experts say it’s crucial for parents to catch the first signs of an eating disorder because the fatality rate for anorexic women is 10 to 15 percent.

“Some of them [die] through malnourishment, some through suicide,” says Mary Weber-Young, L.P.C. “It is the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness.”

Shay wasn’t diagnosed until she was 14. It took five difficult years of treatment before she had fully recovered.

“It was an addiction,” she admits. “It was an obsession.”

Tips for Parents

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) describes an eating disorder as “an obsession with food and weight.” The two main eating disorders are anorexia nervosa (an obsession with being thin) and bulimia (eating a lot of food at once and then throwing up or using laxatives; also known as ‘binging and purging’). Who has eating disorders? According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders:

  • Eight million or more people in the US have an eating disorder.
  • Ninety percent are women
  • Victims may be rich or poor
  • Eating disorders usually start in the teens
  • Eighty-six percent of victims report onset by age 20
  • Eating disorders may begin as early as age 8
  • Seventy-seven percent report duration of one to 15 years
  • Six percent of serious cases end in death

It’s not always easy for parents to determine if their daughter or son is suffering from an eating disorder. But the AAFP does list the following warning signs for anorexia and bulimia:

  • Unnatural concern about body weight (even if the person is not overweight)
  • Obsession with calories, fat grams and food
  • Use of any medicines to keep from gaining weight (diet pills, laxatives, water pills)

The more serious warning signs can be more difficult to notice because people with eating disorders often try to hide the symptoms:

  • Throwing up after meals
  • Refusing to eat or lying about how much was eaten
  • Fainting
  • Over-exercising
  • Not having periods
  • Increased anxiety about weight
  • Calluses or scars on the knuckle (from forced throwing up)
  • Denying that there is anything wrong

If left untreated, people with eating disorders can suffer some health problems, including disorders of the stomach, heart and kidneys; irregular periods or no periods at all; fine hair all over the body, including the face; dry scaly skin; dental problems (from throwing up stomach acid); dehydration.

Eating disorders can be treated. The first step is getting back to a normal weight, or at least to the lower limits of the normal weight range, according to Dr. Rex Forehand, a psychologist at the Institute for behavioral Research at the University of Georgia.  But more needs to be done, Dr. Forehand says. “Attitudes and beliefs about body weight and eating patterns must also be changed. A comprehensive intervention may be necessary.”

Treatment may require hospitalization.  The physician may recommend a dietician.  For both anorexics and bulimics, family and individual counseling may be helpful.


  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
  • American Academy of Family Physicians
  • National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders

Sue Scheff – Teen Obesity

Learn more about keeping your kids in good health. Especially with more and more kids sitting behind their computer screens we need to encourage more activities!


Here is a recent News Article
On paper, the statistics are shocking enough: the obesity rate for teens has tripled over the past 25 years and with this increase an average weight, type 2 diabetes, once unknown in young people, is now diagnosed in 45 percent of all new cases involving children or teens. Medical experts fear that high blood pressure and heart disease could become increasingly prevalent among young adults, making this generation of teens the first to have potentially poorer health and shorter life spans than their parents.
Seeing a young person you love struggle with overweight or obesity in the sensitive pre-teen or teen years is painful, frustrating and alarming — from watching them deal with cruel remarks to seeing them on the sidelines in sports or social events or knowing that they face significant health risks even in young adulthood. Maybe you’ve nagged or dropped hints or taken your child for medical help or sent him or her to weight loss camps — all to no avail.

Doctor Kathy McCoy, author of “The Teenage Body Book,” explains how you can help your teen lose weight and feel better!

• Put the emphasis on good health, not weight, and make it a goal for the whole family. Teens hate being singled out and criticized. Approaching this from a “YOU need to lose weight!” point of view will guarantee a battle of the wills. Instead, ask for your teen’s help in making an action plan to promote better family eating and exercise habits.

• Have real family meals at least once a day and encourage your teen to eat what the family eats. Frantic family schedules have equaled fast food or processed, prepared food dinners — and expanding waistlines. With real, home-cooked meals, you can better control calories, fats, sugars, sodium and other nutritional issues.

• Look at and discuss all of your less than ideal eating behaviors. Maybe your teen craves junk food when she’s bored and watching TV. Maybe you dive into high calorie comfort food when you’re angry or frustrated. Pay attention to the difference between physical and emotional hunger. Discuss all this with your family — and come up with ways to comfort or reward yourselves that have nothing to do with food.

• Make it convenient for everyone in the family to eat breakfast. Advance planning can help: fresh fruit and yogurt in the fridge, whole grain bread and cereals in the pantry, and encouraging all to get up and get going early enough in the morning to grab a bite. Those who don’t eat breakfast tend to overeat during the rest of the day, especially in the evening

• Get your family moving. Trying to motivate an overweight teen to go to the gym can be frustrating and non-productive. Schedule exercise into your family routine: a family walk or bike ride after dinner doesn’t have to cut into homework or leisure time too dramatically — and the exercise is good for everyone.

• Become smart, skeptical consumers: There are no weight loss miracles. Help your teen to avoid quick fixes. The weight didn’t come on overnight and it can’t be lost — for good — overnight either. The goal should be health improvement with a slow, steady weight loss of no more than two pounds a week. The loss can add up to more than 100 pounds in a year — and weight lost slowly as one changes one’s eating and exercise habits is more likely to stay off.

• Make a vow — together — to enjoy a full and healthy life now. You don’t have to wait until you or your teen is slim to do this. With good health as your top family priority, you can feel better starting today. Good nutrition, regular exercise and the feeling that “we’re all in this together” can make a positive difference for everyone in your family.

Award-winning writer and author of “The Teenage Body Book,” Dr. Kathy McCoy is a teen psychology and health expert who has appeared as a guest on such programs as The Today Show and The Oprah Winfrey Show. Winner of the American Library Associations’ Best Book for Young Adults Award, “The Teenage Body Book” contains everything teenagers and their parents need to know about nutrition, health, fitness, emotions and sexuality.

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Teen Eating Disorders

Recently I was contacted by a wonderful woman that has struggled with Bulimia since she was 14 years olds.  Teen Eating Disorders are a very serious concern for many parents – and they need to be made aware of the warning signs as well as solutions.

Lori Hanson  is the woman I am speaking of, she is an Author, Speaker and Life Balance Expert. 

Her new book – “It Started with Pop-Tarts” at the age of 14 – and through her college years suffered and battled with Bulimia.  She shares a journey that parents with teens that are at-risk with having an eating disorder should read.

Learn more about Lori at – she may be able to help you help your kids.