Nutrition and Fitness
Some teens try to lose weight by eating very little; cutting out whole groups of foods like foods with carbohydrates, or “carbs;” skipping meals; or fasting. These approaches to losing weight could be unhealthy because they may leave out important nutrients your body needs. In fact, unhealthy dieting could get in the way of trying to manage your weight because it may lead to a cycle of eating very little and then overeating because you get too hungry. Unhealthy dieting could also affect your mood and how you grow. Smoking, making yourself vomit, or using diet pills or laxatives to lose weight may also lead to health problems. If you make yourself vomit, or use diet pills or laxatives to control your weight, you could have signs of a serious eating disorder and should talk with your health care professional or another trusted adult right away. If you smoke, which increases your risk of heart disease, cancer, and other health problems, quit smoking as soon as possible. If you think you need to lose weight talk with a health care professional first.
As kids enter their teen years, they might lose interest in physical activity. Between school, homework, friends, and even part-time jobs, they’re juggling a lot of interests and responsibilities.
But regular physical activity can help your teen feel more energetic, improve focus and attention, and promote a better outlook. And regular physical activity can help your child maintain a healthy weight and prevent heart disease, diabetes, and other medical problems later in life. Physical activity guidelines for teens recommend that they get 1 hour or more of moderate to strong physical activity daily. Most of the physical activity should be aerobic, where they use large muscles and continue for a period of time. Examples of aerobic activity are running, swimming, and dancing. Muscle-strengthening and bone-strengthening physical activity should be included at least 3 days a week. Teens can be active in sports and structured exercise programs that include muscle- and bone-strengthening activities. Weight training, under supervision of a qualified adult, can improve strength and help prevent sports injuries. Once they get started, many teens enjoy the feelings of well-being, reduced stress, and increased strength and energy they get from exercise. As a result, some begin to exercise regularly without nudging from a parent.
Everyone can benefit from being physically fit. Staying fit can help improve academic performance, build confidence, prevent obesity, and decrease the risk of serious illnesses (such as heart disease and diabetes). And regular physical activity can help teens learn to meet the physical and emotional challenges they face every day. Help your teen commit to fitness by being a positive role model and exercising regularly too.