Overweight Son who is twelve Please help - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-24-2006, 12:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello,
I am the mother of a twelve year old well will be twelve in August. He is in my opinion really overweight. I worry about him as I know the older you get the harder it is to lose weight and mainly because of heart and other problems that come with being overweight, let alone the mental issues from being teased. I am currently waiting to get him into see a doctor that is apparently one of the best in Canada with dealing with children with weight issues but in the meantime I would like it if anyone who has gone through this can help! I limit the sweets and other bad foods such as fried and take out, and I am constantly on him to go outside and exercise. It is hard though when I am at work I know he;s probably vegged out in front of the tv or computer. I know that he is taking some efforts and will go out for a awhile and play soccer but I just need to know if there is anything else I could be doing as I know I take alot of the blame for where he is now. I should have caught this sooner but I always figured he just needed a good growth spurt and once he got taller it would even itself out. If anyone can lend a hand about maybe even videos he can do anything else that I may be missing I would appreciate it.
Thanks so much!!
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Old 07-29-2006, 10:54 AM
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Moving this to Preteens and Teens.

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Old 07-29-2006, 12:31 PM
 
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I was an overweight teen and it felt like it was the worst thing that could possibly be, maybe it's easier on a boy but from being on nutritional bulletin boards for years the guys say no it's awful.

What does he eat? This is going to be controversial because there are a lot of vegetarians in here but he need fat and protein and vegetables and to limit the CRAP fillers like bread, noodles, ALL SODA, juice, crackers etc. Useless calories. He is a boy so DO NOT give him soy in any significant quantity unless you want him sprouting nice chubby man boobies. Most guys love steak, chili, make chicken interesting by having chicken fingers dipped into a sauce etc.

Is he involved in sports? He definitely should be.. if he is too shy because of his personality or because of his weight then maybe something like martial arts, biking (because it's solo), or getting involved in some weight training would be a good idea. People need to be active. Now is the time where he is building his body's BASE that he will rely on for the rest of his life!! It might take some real effort to understand what will motivate him - a man figure to look up to? Something super fun? Something "cool" like mountainbiking or whtaever? Looking good for the girls.. what will motivate him to want to become healthier and fitter? He's almost a teenager so it will be a selfish reason but that's good enough. Fat teens are left out, period. You get the ones who by sheer force of personality are popular, but the fat ones really really are hit by the lack of attention from the opposite sex and it affects them for life, or until they've got their body in order and build some self esteem.
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Old 07-29-2006, 12:42 PM
 
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I would make sure the only food options you have around the house are healthy/acceptable food items. You can't eat what you don't have. My daughter lost 17 pounds just by cutting out beverages with calories. Her doc told her not to 'drink' her calories...so basically she only drinks milk and water and the occasional diet pop. Instead of a glass of juice, she'll have an apple or orange and some water. Cutting out calorie beverages was super easy to do.

Also, instead of bugging him to get out and do something...do something with him. Don't focus on his weight, but on the families health. Go for a bike ride as a family, go out and play frisbee or catch as a family. Go swimming, go for walks/nature hikes together. Shoot some hoops or play tennis together. See if some of his friends are interested in playing some sports with him.
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Old 07-29-2006, 12:52 PM
 
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I am the mother of 3 kids, now ages 20, 18 and 15.

When my kids are young, they are average to slender. Then they hit preadolescence, age about 10, and seem to chub up. They stay on the heavy side til about age 17. Then they slim down. This happened with my 2 older ones, who are girls. Seems they just love food so much when they are younger teens. Once they get older and more interested in dating, they seem to lose the weight by eating less and/or exercising more. Or it might not even have to do with dating, and just be genetic or just having more sense?

I stress nutrition and exercise throughout but they do get some junk as well. It seems they don't pay much attention to all that tho, until they get older and can take responsibility for their own health.

My 15 yo ds is still heavy but maybe he will follow in his sisters' footsteps? At least he is showering more now, and getting more haircuts, etc and other things to do with hygeine and health and looks. Maybe diet and exercise will follow in the next yr or two. He does play basketball (shooting hoops in the driveway) and ping pong a few times a week. He's never been into team sports.

We don't have issues with teasing b/c we homeschool. But they do get pressure about the "ideal" body type from the media.
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Old 07-29-2006, 05:21 PM
 
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I know there are exercise videos for kids, but I don't know the names. He won't lose the weight unless he wants to, so let him decide how he wants to lose it. Set aside a set time where the whole family gets out of the house together to exercise. Take turns deciding on what the family does that time Bike ride, walk, frisbee, etc, etc. Don't leave junk in the house, and no "white food" (white potatoes, white rice, w. bread, etc) and limit the sugar. WW toast instead of sugary cereals or pancakes for breakfast. Take him grocery shopping and let him pick out some healthy snacks. Cut the fruit and veggies up if you have to. My mom did this and it really did work. If I saw an orange in the fridge I knew it had to peeled and cut before I could eat it, but if she peeled it and cut it up for me, it was just as easy as grabbing a bag of chips. If he has a sweet tooth - buy sweet fruits - watermelon and canteloupe are great right now.
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Old 07-29-2006, 11:14 PM
 
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Has he always been overweight? If it's weight he has put on just in the last year or so then I personally wouldn't worry. My almost 11 yr old son was very thin up until about a year or so ago. He started putting on more weight when he started eating more of a variety of foods. He eats everything we eat. He tends to snack on items that most people would eat for a meal. His doctor has never said anything to him about it. He's 4'9 and 80 lbs right now and he bikes regularly, works out at the gym with me each week and swims every day. He still has little pudgies here and there though even though he is extremely active.

Have you thought about limiting his t.v. and video game time? You could take the video game to work with you each day and that might force him to get outside more.

I think it's just the age too in some cases, between like 9-13 for both boys and girls. My neices/nephews all weighed more around that age frame and then slimmed down once they were teenagers. What is your son's height/weight? Is he way off the charts as far as what he should be for his age?

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Old 07-31-2006, 11:44 AM
 
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I have a 10.5 year old and he is on the heavy side. He has always been off the charts for growth. He is very tall for his age, but his weight I worry about. It is really tough, because he always asks for seconds, or complains that he is hungry even after he eats a whole sandwich. I hate to make it a big issue about his eating. His brother is 2 years younger and as thin as a rail! I guess i am wondering whether I caused him to get over weight, or if it is just the way his body is built. How can one of my kids be so thin and the other be so over weight?
Another issue is him asking for seconds. Do I say no? I have tried saying, wait 10 minutes and see if you are still hungry. He usually is!

Sorry I have no advice, just more questions!
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Old 08-02-2006, 10:30 PM
 
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At the very beginning of puberty I think many children put on a good deal of weight to get the hormones to kick in. I see so many heavy 11 year olds who suddenly shoot up and slim down.

Which is not to say, helping our children learn about taking care of our health isn't important and ongoing, but it's good to keep things in perspective too.
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Old 08-04-2006, 05:56 PM
 
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How does your DS feel about his weight? Is he happy or has he approached you about helping him lose weight?

I've been overweight ALL my life and the WORST thing (even more so than teasing at school) was feeling that my mom thought there was something wrong with me. I know she thought she was doing what was best by pushing me to diet, exercise, etc... but instead I only felt worse and worse... after all, she was my mom... if she thought there was something wrong with me, then who was I to think different.

I suggest taking your clues from your son. IF he wants to lose weight then gently encourage him. But if he is happy as he is, then leave him be. Don't have junk in the house, but don't chastise him if he eats it when with friends, etc. Encourage him to be active, but don't push him for something he isn't interesting in.

As he grows up it's possible he may grow into his weight. But even if he doesn't just remember, THAT'S OKAY. He may just naturally be a larger person. As long as he eats healthy as often as possible and remains active he should be fine.
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Old 08-08-2006, 06:44 PM
 
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I think a very important aspect ( i believe I saw it mentioned in another post also) is to ask HIM how he feels about his size. There is so much pressure on kids these days you do not want to make an issue out of something he simply doesn't have a problem with?
I had a similiar problem, I did feel I was providing good nutrition at home and the family did get exercise together by riding bikes etc. My son just never wanted to join in.
He was consuming MANY calories at SCHOOL! Buying double trays, using up the whole months lunch money in half the time. I finally had to call the school and REQUEST rather STERNLY that he not be allowed to buy more than ONE TRAY. :
The best advise I can give is to love him, ask him how HE feels. I agree with amydidit...my mother and father made me feel guilty for every morsel of food I put in my body and I WAS NOT FAT!! It did CREATE a huge issue a little later in my life....and is STILL an issue! The most imporant thing is self image. I wish I had more "wise" words to give.

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Old 08-09-2006, 11:54 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabbi
He was consuming MANY calories at SCHOOL! Buying double trays, using up the whole months lunch money in half the time. I finally had to call the school and REQUEST rather STERNLY that he not be allowed to buy more than ONE TRAY. :
wow, I'm surprised the school allows your son to do this? My child has been in both public/private schools in the past and they are only allowed to go through the lunch line one time and then they stay at their table until class is dismissed to go back to the classroom. I can't imagine any teacher allowing a student to get up and get an additional meal?

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Old 08-09-2006, 12:51 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mommy68
wow, I'm surprised the school allows your son to do this? My child has been in both public/private schools in the past and they are only allowed to go through the lunch line one time and then they stay at their table until class is dismissed to go back to the classroom. I can't imagine any teacher allowing a student to get up and get an additional meal?
I substitute teach at this school (Jr. High), when you go through the line you can request two sandwhiches or extra tator tots etc...but if you get ONE thing extra when you "cash out" at the rude lunch lady table they charge it as two trays.
Finally our school passed a rule to not sell ANY soda beverages on school property. I think this will require me to complain (ok, so maybe it won't stop it, but i feel better complaining) that if the students can't buy soft drinks (which is fine) the teachers shouldn't be allowed to sit at their desk with a Route 44 soda from the local Sonic. :
A school I worked at previously, a teacher could bring their own "drinks" but it had to be in an insulated cup OR coffee mug.

Not sure why I threw that in there.......:


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Old 08-09-2006, 05:54 PM
 
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PP seem to have made some very good suggestions regarding diet - esp. avoiding high calorie drinks (soda, in particular).

I wanted to add that getting rid of the TV and/or videogames/computer games if at all possible may be a big help. Studies (mostly on adults, but also including children) have found a strong link between the number of hours of television watched and rates of obesity. In some studies this has been a stronger predictor than diet or hours of exercise or any of the things were think of as being important. Basically it comes down to two things - watching tv is very sedentary activity, and watching tv seems to spur unhealthy eating (sit and eat chips and/or watch ads for unhealthy food that makes us crave and eat them when not hungry).

I know it can be a hard transition to remove the tv - it may be possible to get a lock the limits the hours that tv can be on, if you can't rely on the child to follow the limits when on their own. Getting rid of/severely limiting (e.g. 1 hour or less per day) TV by itself pretty much encourages getting up and moving around to find something else to do.

This can also be a useful approach because it can be done without any reference to health, weight, diet, food, self-esteem, etc.
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Old 08-09-2006, 06:44 PM
 
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From someone who's struggled with her weight *lifelong*, I can say that the worst worst worst thing to ME, was to get nagged about it. I was 8 years old when a doctor told me I was "fat" (looking back, I was a little bit chubby) and to lose weight. Very helpful for an 8 year old!!!!

My biggest wish in looking back is that I'd gotten involved in team sports. I think the social aspect of it would have made it more fun for me and filled a LOT of needs that I was filling with food.

You also may want to have his thyroid tested just to be sure. A good thyroid screen should screen for all of the thyroid hormones, not just the first one... or else he could get a false "all is clear." Here's a link:
http://www.labtestsonline.org/unders.../tsh/test.html

And finally, some people just are hungrier than others and eat more. I am not this way; now I am dealing with a screwy thyroid. I don't actually eat that much but weight just sticks to me. But I have a few friends who think about food literally 24/7 no matter what. It's awful for them because how do you not eat/graze/munch when it is seriously all you can think of? When you are just HUNGRY all the time. They don't CHOOSE to be that way. I mean even people who stay active. It bugs me to see people get judged based on body size only.

I have a hard time imagining anyone buying two trays of cafeteria food because they like the taste of it so much... seems more like a hungry hungry person to me. Not to mention the stigma of carrying two trays to your table in high school, etc.

Keep your son active and eating healthy food and worry less about his "looks" than about his health etc. IMO anyways. Model healthy eating. Trust me when I say that if he is being teased at all, it hurts him a LOT more than it hurts you and he is aware of it and would LOVE to make it stop.
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Old 08-10-2006, 09:59 PM
 
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I'd also recommend getting involved in exercising with him whenever you can - go for walks, bike rides, etc. that push his limits but don't cross them so that it gets too streneous.

Limited media time would help as well.

And keeping lots of whole foods in the house rather than processed, having him help you shop, choose foods, and prepare them with you.

And while I totally agree with upping veggies and protein and limiting carbs (so easy to snack on and boy do they up the weight!) I have to respectfully disagree that eating soy will give him "man boobs". While there is some research showing good parts of soy and bad parts of soy (as with any food), there simply isn't an epidemic of vegetarian or vegan teen boys/young men with breasts.

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Old 08-14-2006, 10:26 PM
 
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my ds has always been a bit "chubby", it's his body type. He is always very active, didn't (i'll explain the past ense later) watch much tv (like 3-5 hrs max a week), and eats a fairly well balanced diet, no juice, rare soda....we try to keep filling healthy snacks always available as he is "always" hungry and has no self control on when to stop. I figured since he was so active he needed a lot of food and I tried to make sure it was junky empty calories.

Cut to this summer where he spent 3 weeks with his bio-mom. He became a junk food eating, tv watching slouch and gained over 25lbs! He plays football at the youth center and they have a weight limit for which he was 10lbs over for this age group. He has until Sept to drop to the acceptable weight range or be pushed into the higher age group (that he is not ready for).

What I did and am doing is we set a timer in the morning, once it goes off the computer and tv are shut off and we go outside. He is starting to get up and go out before the timer goes off now. He MUST eat a good breakfast (we get a whole grain hot cereal and mix it with some fruit) every morning. I also insist he has 3 small balanced snacks, a good lunch and a well balanced filling dinner. On top of that I also have been working to switch the household to vegetarian. It's a little hard b/c I have to figure out how to balance his proteins and all. i found www.sparkpeople.com to be a useful tool as i could input what he was eating and how much and see what he was actually eating nutrion and calorie wise.

He dropped 7lbs the first week, which shocked me since he was eating so much but he was also being very active, drinking plenty of fluids and eating the RIGHT foods. The weight loss has decreased since that first week to 1lb a week, which is how it should be. if he loses more than 2lbs or gains then I will re-evaluate what we are doing.

We do not pressure or him or make him feel guilty or bad for being over weight. We did make it clear that if he wants to play football he will need to get at the acceptable weight and then all he needs to do is maintain that.
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Old 08-14-2006, 10:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mother12
Hello,
I am the mother of a twelve year old well will be twelve in August. He is in my opinion really overweight. I worry about him as I know the older you get the harder it is to lose weight and mainly because of heart and other problems that come with being overweight, let alone the mental issues from being teased. I am currently waiting to get him into see a doctor that is apparently one of the best in Canada with dealing with children with weight issues but in the meantime I would like it if anyone who has gone through this can help! I limit the sweets and other bad foods such as fried and take out, and I am constantly on him to go outside and exercise. It is hard though when I am at work I know he;s probably vegged out in front of the tv or computer. I know that he is taking some efforts and will go out for a awhile and play soccer but I just need to know if there is anything else I could be doing as I know I take alot of the blame for where he is now. I should have caught this sooner but I always figured he just needed a good growth spurt and once he got taller it would even itself out. If anyone can lend a hand about maybe even videos he can do anything else that I may be missing I would appreciate it.
Thanks so much!!
My brother was the EXACT same way when he was 12... always laying on the couch eating and playing vid games...

HOWEVER once he hit highschool and got a social life he started really thining out... now he is almost TOO skinny, and 6 foot 2...

Looking at his pictures from before highschool you would never imagine its the same boy
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Old 08-16-2006, 02:15 PM
 
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Dh lost 100 lbs when he was 18 because he wanted "girls." He won't lose weight unless he wants to. We try to have dss (11) involved in at least one thing. He doesn't like sports so I hand him the parks and rec guide and tell him to pick one thing. He has done police day camp ( ), karate, and archery. He also just started skateboarding. He likes to swim, too. It is hard for the non-sports types to exercise.
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Old 09-09-2006, 03:44 AM
 
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Not knowing your son this is just shot in the dark but my 12 year old who was always thin started putting on chub about 2 years ago.

My mother , who is 76, keeps telling me that it is normal. That all of her brothers and all of her cousins, nephews, friends , etc... who were pre teen boys put on that chub and its to get their bodies ready to grow tall. remember, boys and girls grow differently. girls bodies are done growing by 15 but boys are still growing at age 20!

I have to say that I knew a lot of boys who were chubby in early teens and then one day WOW they just shot up and muscled out and the transformation was huge, unlike girls who just sort of inch along and the only big change are the breasts.
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Old 09-09-2006, 04:14 PM
 
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Ds has just become interested in healthy eating due to his science teacher. She shows them the vial of fat equivalent to chicken nuggets, pizza, etc. How much sugar in a soda, etc. 11 years of info from me/nagging did nothing compared to what he's become interested in in 2 weeks.
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Old 09-09-2006, 05:00 PM
 
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I just want to say, from personal experiance, if your child feels like he is being nagged, (for lack of a better term) he most likely isn't going to loose weight.

Weight is a very sensitive subject, and if handeled wrong, it could impact your child with life long weight problems. Children gain weight before puberty and it sometimes takes a few years to slim back down. So the thing you have to look at is: is your child REALLY overweight, or just overweight in your opinion?
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Old 09-11-2006, 08:21 PM
 
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Two books I recommend: Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy by Dr. Walter Willett and Natural Cures by Kevin Trudeau. Both excellent books on general nutrition and exercise and the Government (U.S.). Willett's book is entirely based on scientific studies and includes some recipes. Trudeau's book includes a lot on the evils of the FDA and the FTC and general government poo. Both are easy reads. Neither is specifically a weight loss book, but following the advice in them will make you lose weight.

As the pp said, nagging does not help. It can often make things worse. However, if you just supply a source of non-parental expert information (such as the books), this can go a long way.
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Old 09-11-2006, 09:41 PM
 
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I was just talking about this kind of thing with my husband last night. My mom took me to my first diet doctor (pills and all) when I was about 10. I was about ten pounds overweight - and I just kept getting fatter. I know, truly know, she was trying to do the right thing for me.

Here's what I wish she had done - kept junk out of the house, never brought home or took me to fast food, cooked nutritious foods for the WHOLE family (I was often singled out with "special" meals and snacks and somethings were for my sibs and not me. One of my most pitiful memories is being about 9 and going for snowballs after swimming. I got shaved Tab over shaved ice. And I know my mom was not trying to be mean, she really did think she was doing the best thing for me. HER mom has been bulimic since her late teens), and taken me on long walks, runs, swims, etc. NO ONE needs all that junk in the house. Why even discuss it? Why even call it "bad" or "junk" when you could just not have it around.

I don't have much advice for your son and you but I hope to never say the word "diet" in front of my daughter. I hope I never complain about my body in front of her. I hope she never knows just how badly I feel about my life-long war with food. I would feel so horrible if I passed this down another generation. It's not even so much about hoping she's not fat as I just don't want her to spend as much time and energy on hating herself and thinking about food as I have. This has been SUCH a big part of my life. What wasted energy and time!
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Old 09-11-2006, 10:36 PM
 
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You are getting a lot of different responses from different people. Yes, your son could just be going through a phase. Yes, your son could end being overweight in the long run. You don't have a crystal ball, so you don't know what it will end up being. But you have to do your part as a parent. Do not ignore your maternal instincts about the well-being of your child.

Like the pp said, you need to keep junk out of the house for EVERYONE. Singling him out will just breed resentment. If you are the primary cooker in the house, then you can control what your family eats in your house. Make nutritious meals for everyone. Think about it as ensuring the health for your own family.

More specifically, leave only nutritious meals for snacks at home and allow junk food only sparingly.

Also, get him invovled in sports if possible. If not, then perhaps you or your husband will take walks after dinner, go to the gym together if that is financially feasible. One thing that might work is getting him invovled in martial arts, that will surely boost his confidence at the same time...Have your husband lift weights with him twice a week for extra bonding time...

Hope this helps...
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