Diet and Exercise for Teenagers
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Teen obesity is recently a major problem in the United States. Teenage obesity did not occur overnight, but it continues to grow with new types of entertainment, such as videogames, TIVO, Facebook, and a general decline in positive attitudes about exercising. What happened to this generation?
Along with lack of exercise, most teenagers eat more junk food than healthy food. I guess the correct statement would be that teenagers don’t consume the correct balance of carbohydrates, proteins, fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, parents have busy schedules that don’t allow them to have time to prepare healthy meals, so is it any wonder that children choose highly addictive junk food over a full balanced meal or a healthy snack? Children choose junk food over a well-balanced meal or a healthy because it is an easy source of food that tastes better than broccoli, and their parents usually arent around to stop them.
Start a Healthy Diet Early On
Starting a healthy diet when the child is under 12 years old can minimize bad eating habits, and this is critical, becaues children who develop healthy eating habits at an early age are more likely to continue the same healthy habits into adulthood. In addition to physical health, you will also be doing their social identities favor, because more and more teenagers are concerned about their body image. When a child enters adolescence, they begin to experience body changes - Girls start to develop breast, and men start to develop facial hair. Weights change, and everything seems to be out of wack. However, with great nutrition, they can avoid the most painful social experience that accompany of physical obesity and allow them to focus on the "normal" challenges of adolescence.
Acknowledge the Problem With Social Media
Adolescents are confused at first and heavily influenced by models in magazines. This is normal because an adolescent’s brain is still developing basic cognitive skills. They are developing their sense of identity, personality, and character. These days social media pushes very specific ideas of beauty and strength, which includes super models who are skinny and men with six-packs. Girls suffer more from negative body image than boys. Girls start to develop “feelings” for boys, and boys start to develop feelings for girls that are visually aesthetically pleasing. Images of what social media depicts as “beautiful” and “handsome” leads to negative behavior, such anorexia, suicide, and depressions. Teenagers start experimenting with outrageous diets, such as the Soup Diet, which can lead to death and malnourishment.
Learn About Nutrition
The adolescent body needs more nutrients than an adult body. Teenage boys need average of 3,200 calories a day, and teenage girls need and average of 2400 calories a day (Russo 2015). For more information about calories and a healthy teenage diet, visit www.heathlyeating.sfgate.com. You can also do a Google to find the appropriate diet for teenagers. Websites such as WebMD are the best websites to find various diets for teenagers. Popular diets such as the Atkins diet and Weightwatchers have also modified their diets for teenagers.
The "Diabetic Diet" Works for Almost Everyone
But be aware of diet fads. Examples of diet fads are diets that tell you that you will lose weight in 30 days, and don’t include or limit the intake of the major food groups. As always, talk to a doctor about the best diet for a teenager. I suggest a diabetic diet. Why? You may ask, especially if no one in your household doesn’t have diabetes. Get ahead of the game. Children pay attention to everything, including eating habits. Teenagers often mimic their parents’ or parent’s eating habits. Secondly, obesity is one of the leading causes of diabetes in teenagers and adults. A diabetic diet can prevent diabetes, help you and your family manage portion control, and lower the risk of high blood pressure and loss of eyesight.
Start exercising. This doesn’t mean that you take the whole family to the gym. The family can simply go for brisk walks after dinner. Encourage teenagers to participate in sports at school and in the community - Many communities have youth city baseball and basketball teams. When a teenager becomes part of a group, they also experience a boost to their self-esteem, so remember that family support also encourages teenagers to exercise and active participation in sports. Teenagers experience various body changes during their cognitive developmental stages, and these changes can lead dangerous eating behaviors. Social media will always depict beauty as skinny and “pretty”. As parents, it is your responsibility to help teenagers develop positive body image and effective healthy eating choices.
- Heather Browning, MBA, BA
Burso, Jessica. (n.d.) How Many Calories Should an Average Teenager Eat Per Day? Retrieved March 2, 2015.