For overweight children 7 and older, the initial goal is to keep them from gaining more weight. Changes in eating habits and exercise are gradually introduced to trim pounds.
Although it is not a perfect measure, BMI gives a fairly accurate assessment of how much of your teen's body is composed of fat.
The cholesterol in blood comes from two sources: the foods your teen eats and his or her liver. The liver, however, makes all of the cholesterol your teen's body needs.
If you, your parents or your parents' siblings had a heart attack before age 55, you should have your child's cholesterol tested.
Encourage your teen to eat three balanced meals a day, with fruits or vegetables as snacks.
Teens need at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity on most days for good health and fitness and for healthy weight during growth.
The teen years often bring a sharp drop in physical activity, especially for girls.
Extreme obesity plagues more than a million teens and young adults, experts estimate. What's a parent to do?
By teaching your kids to follow a healthy lifestyle, you can help reduce their risk for heart disease later in life. Although children and teens usually don't show the symptoms of heart disease, the silent buildup of plaque (fatty deposits) can start in childhood and can have a serious impact on their adult life.
You may think of heart disease as a problem for adults, not your young children. But diet and exercise habits started in childhood can begin a lifetime of heart health, or a lifetime of heart damage.