DEAR ABBY: I'm 12 and weigh 204 pounds. I feel really fat and I want to go on a diet, but my mom won't let me. I'm getting bad grades in gym class and need your help. -- SAD GIRL IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
DEAR SAD GIRL: By recognizing that you have a problem that you can't deal with on your own, you have already taken an important first step in resolving it. The next is to talk to your gym teacher about this and enlist her aid in convincing your mother to give you the help you need.
Childhood obesity is rampant in this country, and all those extra pounds could negatively affect your health -- not only now, but in the future. If you have a pediatrician, the doctor may be able to discuss the importance of a healthy diet and exercise program for you with your mom. You will need the help of other adults to make her understand if she can't see that you need help now.