- MOST RECENT
Nutrition during Teenage
Teenagers feel invincible and lived in the world or their own. Those are wonderful years but sometimes that is the time when things can go awfully wrong. And the effect of some wrong decisions taken during that time can have long term effects.
Rapid growth period
Adolescence or teenage is a crucial period in life because several major physical and psychological changes occur during a very short period of time (Moreno). Growth and development are rapid during this age. During this period if unhealthy lifestyle is adopted which includes
- unhealthy eating habits
- and sedentary lifestyle
the foundation for lifestyle diseases is laid. These include nutritional non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart problems and obesity.
It is therefore very important to get the teenagers on to a track of good lifestyle practices so that they carry these into adulthood. Adequate adolescent nutrition is an important step for optimum growth and development (Salam).
Some areas where parents need to focus
Unhealthy dietary habits
Many teenagers equate their self-worth to how they look. Peer pressure is massive during this period. Their idea of looking good can be unrealistically thin. We have to make them understand that unhealthy dieting has a deleterious effect on health. This is the age when eating disorders make an appearance.
Therefore, it is extremely important for parents to keep communication channels open with their teenagers. Listening to them about what is happening in their life is of utmost importance. Spend quality time with them.
Not meeting calcium requirement
During this period calcium deposition in bones is at the peak. If they try to lose weight during this period, they have to do it in such a way that all the nutrient requirements should be met. If appropriate amount of calcium is not taken through diet, they will be increasing the risk of being afflicted by osteoporosis later in life.
Especially girls face this problem because of blood loss during menstruation. It is very important that they eat iron rich foods to replace the lost iron. Otherwise they may become anaemic which makes them weak and listless.
Most teenagers tend to skip breakfast and then eat unhealthy stuff to assuage their hunger. They tend to have energy dense snacks such as candy, chocolates and drink sugar laden soft drinks. Make sure they have a healthy breakfast before they leave for school.
Lack of time because of school work and other activities may make them physically less active. Ensure that they take up a sport or some other form of physical activity. Absence of physical activity may lead to increased chances of putting on weight.
Be a role model
Your teenagers are smart. If you preach what you do not follow, they are going to point it out to you. You will have to be a proper role model and set an example by doing whatever you preach them. They will learn from watching you more than listening to what you tell them.
- Moreno https://academic.oup.com/advances/article/5/5/615S/4565781
- Salam, R. A., Hooda, M., Das, J. K., Arshad, A., Lassi, Z. S., Middleton, P., & Bhutta, Z. A. (2016). Interventions to Improve Adolescent Nutrition: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. The Journal of adolescent health: official publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine, 59 (4S) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5026685/