The Health of Your Youth!

The importance of health and nutrition in adolescence

Time to raise conscious awareness of your child's health!

Adolescence is an extremely important stage in an individual's life as it is crucial to both physical and mental development. As kids start to make the transition to young adulthood, their bodies and minds take on much stress from balancing everyday life while undergoing some major changes. Maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle as well as a balanced diet is vital to ensuring the body and mind are able to grow and develop at a steady rate without being overloaded and overworked, allowing both to function at maximum efficiency.

Lets Get Started!

Just what all does health include?

The overall health of an individual includes a balance of a few very important things:
  • Nutrition
  • Physical fitness/activity
  • Proper sleep and rest
  • Personal relationships
  • Stress management


Each play their own role in the combined health of an individual as well having their own unique effects on said health.
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Why is health so crucial to this developmental stage?

Adolescence is such a major stage in a child's life because they undergo several steps that begin the transition from childhood to adulthood. These changes are big stepping stones to a child because they are pretty significant changes in their current life, during a very stressful time. The arrival of puberty, coupled with the stress and adventure experienced during high school can be quite a bit on a young adult during a time of major physical change, and cognitive growth. This transitional stage also brings us closer to the thought and preparation for the next major step in life which can bring on a great deal of mystery, pressure and excitement to the young and rather inexperienced mind of an adolescent. Such changes are dramatic enough on their own, but the onset of puberty causes changes in the brain involving neurotransmitters that intensify things such as stress and pleasure and can cause a bit of emotional overload on young minds. Therefore, it is highly important that your child receives proper amounts of rest, nutrition and exercise to ensure maximum as well as healthy growth and allow the body to make such drastic changes with ease.

Nutrition

A healthy, balanced and well-rounded diet will help your child receive the proper nutrients necessary to not only grow and develop a strong body, but a strong mind as well. Great nutrition gives children the caloric energy their body needs to get through busy school days filled with learning and physical activity, as well as the right nutrients their bodies need to recover from daily life and grow during restful states. On average, adolescents take on about 50 to 75 pounds and grow around 10 to 11 inches of height, all the while balancing school, sports and social life atop the changes (Berk, 2007). These large scale physical changes require a great deal of nutritional intake to support not only the changes, but the fast paced lifestyle of a growing adolescent. It is recommended that boys take in an average caloric intake of 2,700 calories a day with an emphasis on protein. For girls it is slightly less, hovering around about 2,200 calories a day (Berk, 2007). Overall daily meals should include a balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables and grains. Below is a link that includes a helpful article on the importance and details of healthy eating during adolescence.

Exercise and Rest

During adolescence kids can be very busy with school, sports, additional clubs and social activities as well as family engagements. All this constant activity can drain the body of its physical energy as well as mental, keep in mind that during the busy schedule of adolescence their bodies and minds are undergoing much growth all the while. It is because of all this activity that it is also very important to keep the body strong, as well as strengthen it with sufficient amount of physical activity during the day; whether it be weight training, sports practices, going on a run, or even consistent walks outside during the day to stimulate muscle growth and blood flow as well as keeping the body flexible and in motion, giving the mind a break from constant activity. Secondly, it is important to couple physical exercise with rest, especially during a period of intense growth. Adolescence should be getting a minimum of 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night, 10 to 12 if possible. It is important to give the mind and body the rest and recovery time it needs to repair itself from the days work, and prepare itself for the next. Normal daily functions can become much more difficult without sufficient amount of sleep, and during adolescents it is highly important to let the body and mind rest completely after each day to maximize growth, health, sports/school success, and overall happiness. Below is a quick workout instructional video that can be done at home within 20-30 mins that is fairly simple, while still promoting muscle growth and stimulation as well as stretching the muscles, generating blood flow and providing physical activity for the day. There are many others on the internet that can easily be accessed and completed; normally varying by different body parts targeted as well as exercise types.
Total Body Teen Workout "Be a 10 in 2010"
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Stress Management and Parental Support

Another key ingredient to a balanced, healthy adolescent is having a strong support system from family and friends. As their world changes, as well as their body, kids need helpful parental guidance to make the troubles of their world not seem as intense and hard. Facing this transitional stage becomes much more manageable with the love, support and guidance of parents, as well as positive and encouraging friends who have similar goals and morals as well as struggles and questions. Stress can weigh down on the adolescent mind as they begin to become more susceptible to more intensified stress and pleasure as a result of the development and altercation of their brains. Support, and stress relief help take away some of the pressures that can easily cloud an adolescents mind, making things such as school work and daily life seem much more difficult and potentially have harmful effects on their minds.

Don't Forget!

With today's technological advancements there are all types of informational sources out there that are easily accessible with the click of a button! Don't be afraid to do a little reading and research on your own about what your child may be going through, and helpful tips and ways to support them as they continue the next step in their journey. It is also very important to communicate with your child to develop a strong relationship in order to create and promote trust, as well as help them grow into a healthy and successful young adult.
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References

Berk, L. (2007). Development through the lifespan (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.


Raphael D. Adolescence as a gateway to adult health outcomes. Maturitas [serial online]. June 2013;75(2):137-141.