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If a girl needs to lose weight

Photo of a mother and daughter.

It can be hard to know whether a girl needs to lose weight, and even tougher to talk about it if she does. Use the girlshealth.gov Body Mass Index calculator to get a better sense of if your girl is at a healthy weight. You also can talk with a doctor to learn more.

If a girl you care for needs to lose weight, keep the focus on health, healthy eating, and staying physically active. A focus on appearance and quick results may only make a girl feel bad about herself and make weight loss even harder. All girls need to feel good about their bodies and to feel supported.

Here are some tips for helping a girl who needs to lose weight:

  • Try to make your home a healthy-eating haven. Good eating habits are important for everyone, not just an overweight child. And having the whole family eat healthy takes the focus off the child who needs to lose weight. Check out our resources for more on healthy eating for families.
  • Introduce steps a girl can follow her whole life. Learning how to choose healthy foods and portions will support her health for years to come.
  • Look together at healthy weight-loss tips from girlshealth.gov.
  • Don’t suggest a very strict diet. Extreme rules are hard to follow and can lead to unhealthy behaviors like secret eating and possibly even eating disorders. Also, fad diets often leave out important nutrients girls need to grow and thrive.
  • Make sure to be encouraging. Never make weight-loss steps seem like punishments. Applaud any successes and be supportive if a girl faces setbacks. Remind girls that weight loss can be a slow process — successful dieters usually don’t lose more than one or two pounds each week.
  • Remember to encourage physical activity, too. Think of fun ways to be active together as a family. Check out our tips for helping girls get fit.
  • Consider suggesting a food diary. Recording what you eat is a great way to be more aware of food choices and areas for improvement. The SuperTracker food tracker from ChooseMyPlate.gov can help.

 

If a girl you care about is trying to lose weight, remind her that her body already looks great in lots of ways and does some pretty amazing things!

 

Content last reviewed November 05, 2013
Page last updated February 18, 2014

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health.

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