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Ask Rene: Our Teenage Daughter Is Very Overweight! Help!


Ask Rene:
Our Teenage Daughter Is Very Overweight! Help!


Hi Rene,

Our teenage daughter has a serious weight problem but my ex-husband seems completely oblivious to her issues – and is in fact, part of the problem.

Kara is 15 years old, 5’6” and already weighs 230 lbs. My ex, Josh and I have joint custody but while Kara eats healthy foods while she’s with me, every time she stays with Josh and his new wife they’re eating pizza, burgers and junk food.

Josh and his wife are obese themselves and I feel they’re sending a terrible message to our daughter. It’s hard to tell her to eat right when she’s not with me half the time (and of course I can’t control what she eats during the day or with friends)

How can I get my daughter to be healthy if her own father can’t handle his own weight issues?


Michelle, Orlando



Hi Michelle:

Glad you wrote because this is a situation that needs to be handled STAT and on more than one front. There’s the health aspect, but it also feels to me like your daughter is being used as a pawn in some sort of bizarre power struggle between you and your ex. That has to stop before she becomes the collateral damage. To that end, here’s what I would propose.


1. Get Kara A Physical

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Let’s start with getting Kara healthy. At 5’6”, she really ought to be about 90 or 100 pounds less than what she is currently (her pediatrician will better be able to assess what that number should be). It’s important to remember there are no quick fixes; real and permanent weight loss should be slow and steady, no more than a pound or two a week. The doctor can further explain why this is important; you are trying to avoid weight-related illnesses (hearth disease, diabetes, high blood pressure) down the line and underscore this is about feeling good, not just looking good.

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