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Designed Just For You > My Age Group > Children > Teenagers

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Today's Teenagers
Today’s teenagers are the first generation to have grown up less healthy than their parents. In addition to alcohol, sexually transmitted diseases, and drugs, obesity is also a modern threat to the health of an average teen.
About 30.4 percent of teenagers are overweight. The factors for obesity in teenagers include  increased intake of junk food, drinking sugary drinks like Red Bull and soda, lack of physical activity and increased indoor sedentary activities such as watching television, playing video games and computer use, and finally, genetics.

The negative effects obesity has on a teenager’s health include type 2 diabetes, asthma, heart disease, sleep disorders and high blood pressure. These can be carried through to adulthood  and worsen with age.

There are many ways to help your teenager stay fit and fight teenage obesity. Encourage your teen to participate in school sports and activities. Replace junk foods with natural, healthy choices. Compromise – teens can still enjoy their video games while riding a stationary bike!

Smart Eating
Many unhealthy eating habits are established during teenage years, like skipping meals and eating too much junk food. Teenagers will start eating more and more meals away from home, whether it’s when they’re with friends or on dates, and they won’t always make the best food choices. 

To keep teenage bodies strong and full of energy, this is an essential time to either continue eating the healthy meals previously provided by family or start establishing new healthy habits.

Teenagers should aim for three healthy meals per day, plus nutritious snacks. Nutrient rich balanced meals (plus occasional treats) will help a teenager to perform at their best. It’s very important that teenagers do not skip meals, especially breakfast. By skipping breakfast, teenagers run the risk of overeating later in the day and making unhealthy food choices in their haste to stop hunger.

During the teenage years, girls and boys can be very self-conscious of their looks and may become victims of extreme dieting or eating disorders. It’s important to teach your teenager that people come in all shapes and sizes, and that well-balanced meals and good nutrition are more important than weight and body size. Hopefully, by taking the right steps to being well-nourished and getting plenty of exercise, your teenager will more than likely have a healthy body image. It’s also a good idea to consult a health care practitioner if you are concerned about your teenager’s weight issues.

Activities and Programs
1. School Sports
It’s extremely important for teens to get involved in school sports both for exercise and to be social. Some of the most popular school sports include football, cheerleading, gymnastics and basketball. Schools have many sports programs from which to choose, so present your teen with options! Lessons that are taught in sports are an extension of what is taught in the classroom and having a coach can be a sound support system for a teenager. Involvement in high school sports has shown to increase grades and self-esteem. 

In addition to having a nutritious diet, make sure your teen gets enough sleep in order to excel in their daily activities.

2. Outside School
There are many activities teens can participate in outside of school by checking out local recreation centers. However, team sports aren’t for everyone. If your teenager prefers activities they can practice alone, there’s always running, horseback riding, biking, yoga or skiing, among many others! There are also every day activities that can offer a good workout for your teen like yard work, house chores or dog-walking (and the allure of making a little money walking dogs or delivering papers is sure to appeal to teens!).

Strive to be a good role model by making exercise a part of your life too. Participate in games with your teen; help them practice the activities that they enjoy and offer to drive your teen to practice and games. Be supportive and encouraging of your teen’s involvement in activities!

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