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Many Overweight Teens Don't Think They Are

Many overweight teens don't think they are, according to an article in The Journal of American Academy of Pediatrics.

Referring to the February article, "Where Perception Meets Reality: Self-Perception of Weight in Overweight Adolescents," CBS News Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton said one in three children surveyed don't consider themselves overweight or obese.

Ashton said this altered perception becomes a problem because you can't begin to treat issues unless one identifies that there is a problem in the first place.

If you are a parent of an overweight or obese child, Ashton suggested these tips to help children strive for good health:

• Don't ignore weight problems - Don't focus on the weight. Don't focus on the number on the scale.
• Focus on good health - Tell them you want to be as healthy on the inside as on the outside.
• Talk to a health professional - A nutritionist, a pediatrician, a doctor, who knows about metabolic issues, weight and the social issues of teens.

Ashton said you can't wait on this issue, referring to a another study in the February issue of Journal of American Academy of Pediatrics.

"It will become a problem as they get to be adults," she said. "...As parents, when you talk about how to steer your child into good health habits, another study showed 40 percent of teenagers who had good habits as children were less likely to be obese as teenagers and then as adults."

Ashton said some of the habits mentioned in the study, such as eating dinner together as a family, getting regular sleep and spending less time in front of screens, should be part of regular household routines.

Ashton said, "(These habits) should start as early as possible, and adults should follow the same guidelines."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18 percent of teens between the ages of 12 and 19 are obese.

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