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Teens: Under the Influence of TV

Damage Control

First, get your kids to watch less TV. An easy way to accomplish this is to gather the family for sit-down dinners. Since many kids routinely skip at least one meal a week to watch a show or play video games, having meals together not only brings everyone closer but also automatically curbs tube time. Kids see an average of four to five food ads every 60 minutes on TV, so shaving off even one hour of viewing significantly reduces their exposure.

When junk food commercials do come on, and you child asks the inevitable, "Mom, can you buy that?" say no and spell out your opposition to high-calorie, low-nutrition food, suggest Wiecha. Parents can also encourage their tweens and teens to be mindful of what they eat by renting a movie like Super Size Me and watching it together. "Kids are more likely to pay attention when they've learned something themselves rather than being lectured about it, " says Wiecha.

Copyright © 2007. Used with permission from the December 2007 issue of Family Circle magazine.