My teen (17) broke an ankle and is bedridden. They're obese (5'7" @ 250lbs female) and have a difficult time regulating their binges until now. Can't get to the kitchen so built in limiting. My spouse and I are having a conflict when it comes to diet.

I'm seriously concerned about massive weight gain during the recoup period so I'm saying calorie intake should be limited down to about 1500/day. My spouse doesn't seem too worried and keeps feeding our teen closer to 2200-2500/day. Also bad choices, IE a Fast food 3 chicken strip meal with fries instead of a 5 strip meal evidently makes sense to them while I'm saying perhaps roasted chicken with salad would be a better choice.

What I need is a good source for what the dietary needs are and even some sample menus to makes things idiot proof. I've got the knowledge but am not being taken seriously.

Any help would be great. Thanks.

  • 4
    I would highly suggest that you get a competent medical professional involved. There appear to be more issues than just childhood obesity.
    – JohnP
    Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 15:48
  • 4
    I agree with @JohnP if you want to be taken seriously. You and your husband also need to be on the same page if you are going to have any hope of addressing the obesity. If one parent enables while the other is trying to be restrictive it just isn't healthy for the family in general. I will say salads can sometimes be just as bad as the fast food--particularly with some types of dressing. You will always get better mileage with real whole foods. Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 16:45
  • While its a tough question, there is no doubt this is about fitness. If someone is bed-ridden they aren't fit.
    – user2861
    Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 23:55
  • @Lego, there is a difference between fitness and serious conditions like eating disorders (see the reference to binge-eating in the question). Commented Aug 22, 2013 at 3:01

2 Answers 2


BMI - According to the CDC's BMI Calculator for Teens your daughter's BMI (body mass index) is 39.2 placing her above the 98th percentile and indicates she is obese. It says:

This teen is obese and is likely to have health-related problems because of weight and should be seen by a healthcare provider for further assessment.

The best answer to your question is to get professional help:

  • Medical- someone who specializes in teen obesity and eating disorders,
  • Physical therapy to address her inactivity and broken ankle,
  • Nutritional (registered dietician) to set up an appropriate diet that meets her nutritional and weight loss needs,
  • Psychological - to address underlying emotional issues and to include family counseling to assure that everyone has the same goals.

    As previously mentioned in the comments, unless you have a united plan of action that everyone is in agreement with, nothing is going to improve. The more your daughter remains bedridden, loses strength and gains weight, the harder it is going to be to get her back on her feet.

    If you need some help being taken seriously, get the Surgeon General on your side who lists health consequences of obesity as: heart disease, diabetes, cancer, breathing problems, premature death, arthritis, reproductive complications, and in adolescents (as well as adults) social discrimination. For additional information see How to lose weight when morbidly obese.

Best of luck and let us know if you need more information to get your plan in place.

  • 1
    Brilliant answer that focus exactly on the problem.
    – user2861
    Commented Aug 22, 2013 at 3:47
  • @Lego, I'll take brilliant! That's a lot better than the downvote I got. :) Thanks Commented Aug 22, 2013 at 4:07
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    @DMoore, imo I completely focused on answering the question. Any “insight” as you put it comes directly from the question. I will discuss your other points with you in chat if you want. Commented Aug 22, 2013 at 7:49

I don't understand the comments of calling in a medical professional. Holy cow if we needed to see a doctor to eat better we would need 3 billion doctors in the world!

Both parents have to be on the same page. It's a given. You should take your kid's weight serious because you do not want health issues now or down the road. Also coming from an obese family I understand the importance of learning good eating habits. As a parent you have let your child (I don't say this to be negative because kids do what they do) eat certain foods. Try to introduce foods that they like that are lower in calories and healthier. Get rid of the junk food in the house and simply don't buy it. If you buying it you are enabling it. I don't want to get into the family dynamics because I still have issues what my mom serves my kids but just buy good foods and buy foods that are filling and low in calories. If your spouse doesn't understand how your daughter's health could be impacted she needs to be educated on this.

For your current problem I don't agree with either parent. Use a simple calorie calculator to see how many calories a day your kid burns without doing anything. With the stats you gave me I get almost 2400 calories per day. So if your kid eats 2400 calories per day she should maintain her weight.

Dropping her to 1500 calories puts her body in starve mode. This isn't healthy and isn't good for long-term results. Also a person that has that big of a deficit is more likely to binge eat if they are starving. For the first week you can go somewhere around 1800-2100 calories. As her weight drops you can adjust it down a little. The goal isn't that she eats significantly less, it is that she chooses foods that have less calories.

  • 6
    I recommended the medical professional because there were a lot of flags in the post. A morbidly obese teen, that can't regulate binge eating, poor nutrition while bedridden with a broken bone and parents that can't agree on nutrition. If it was just one thing, maybe eating better would be a magic bullet. But, there is more going on than just a fat kid.
    – JohnP
    Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 22:41
  • 3
    That simple calorie calculator is indeed simple, bedridden and sedentary are two different pair of shoes. Also the question asks for a good source, you are just adding another opinion to that discussion but lack to provide anything that helps with the problem. Starvation mode relating to weight loss is a myth.
    – Baarn
    Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 22:50
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    Sorry, but I have to downvote this based on the lack of medical supervision in the answer. I agree with @JohnP that there is alot going on here, beyond the scope of this site. I think any advice that makes the parents think they can handle this without assistance and delays a medically oriented plan is a disservice to this teen. Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 23:48
  • You're entitled to your opinion. That's what the voting system is for. Apparently everyone but you agrees.
    – JohnP
    Commented Aug 22, 2013 at 14:05

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