Teens may find themselves eating junk food and hanging out with friends more often than they are focusing on making solid nutritional choices. Nutrition can greatly impact a teen’s physical development during this key time in their lives, and poor nutrition habits can cause skin problems, obesity and a host of other issues that may cause further stress in a young person’s life. Healthy eating habits can last a lifetime and work to help prevent the following problems that may appear later in life:
- Abnormal physical development
- Diabetes and related diseases
- High blood pressure
- Poor heart health
Bad Nutritional Habits
Poor nutrition can lead to obesity, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that obesity in children and teens has almost tripled since 1980. Many nutritional problems stem from environmental factors. Teens are likely to look for convenience when hungry. When unhealthy items are readily available (), they are more likely to consume these items out of convenience. Choosing to stock your home or your teen’s favorite hangout areas with healthier items can help prevent the formation of bad nutritional habits.
Good Nutrition Choices
Avoiding poor choices can help prevent the formation of bad habits, but actively looking for good nutrition choices can make a greater impact over time. Parents can assist their teens with making healthy and intelligent choices through careful care to the nutritional quality of meals served in the home. Teens can choose salads, healthy snacks and lean meats over fattier products when eating out or when they watch a movie with their friends. Choosing to replace fatty snacks or unhealthy processed foods with vegetables and lean meats can start a teen on the path to developing healthy eating habits that last a lifetime.
Just as problems develop from poor nutritional choices, building healthy eating habits into your lifestyle can prevent many teens from suffering from obesity and related issues. Teens should pay close attention to those foods that leave them feeling sluggish and stop eating before they become stuffed. Choosing to work out with friends or engage in sports and other physical activities, instead of sedentary ones, can help a teen develop a healthy body fueled by solid nutritional choices. Active events include sports, hiking, walking moderate distances, jogging and group activities such as stretching or calisthenics. Healthy habits also involve avoiding more sedentary activities, such as limiting time watching television or movies, in favor of more active pursuits. This does not require the loss of these activities altogether, but the development of healthy habits often requires reducing the time one spends sitting in front of a screen.
Working to Stop Obesity and Related Problems
Around 17 percent of those ages two to 19 are obese, according to the CDC. Obesity puts undue strain on the body and redirects energy from foods that could be used to grow and develop a teen’s body. The teen’s health is harmed whenever poor nutritional choices are made. Teens should be encouraged to work towards preventing obesity and working with their teachers, peers and classmates to help overcome or prevent this problem.