Teenage Nutrition: A Important Focus For Their Future
Teenage Nutrition Requirements Are As Important As The Baby Period
The irony of teen eating habits is at the very stage they need to eat very nutritious foods, they don’t want to. Second to infancy, adolescence is the most critical time for nutritious eating. Dr. Sears, Teen Nutrition
Teenagers sleep more, eat more, grow fast. We blink our eyes and in an instant our children have transformed into young adults. Teens gain about 20% of their adult height and 50% of adult weight during their rapid growth spurt, which correlates with an increase in their nutritional needs. During an adolescent’s rapid growth their nutrition requirements are as important as when they were infants. The difficult task in this young adult age group is to support a teen’s nutritional requirements when healthy eating is not their first priority.
Teenage Nutrition: Health Eating Is Not A Teen’s Food Preference
Studies have shown the following:
- In general, adolescents are not concerned with their long-term health and teens have the feeling they are invincible.
- Teenagers need to experience the benefits of eating healthy and staying fit now, in their daily lives otherwise there is little incentive to change.
- Peer pressure and the influence of the media play a large role in nutritional and food choices of adolescents.
- Teenagers are more sedentary than in the past.
- Teenagers select foods that taste good to them as first choices and this includes high energy/high calorie junk foods.
Along with these physiological and psychological factors:
Teenage Hormonal Factors
Pregnant women have hormonal changes that affect their sense of smell and taste and so do our hormonal teenagers. In fact, the sense of smell peaks in late teens and then gradually declines. With taste, the largest shift is noticed at 13-14 years when children become markedly more sensitive to sour tastes and less sensitive to sweet tastes. Do you have a teenager at home? Have you noticed their reactions to certain food smells and tastes being very different than when they were younger? There is a physiological reason why.
Adolescent Psychological Factors
For teenagers trying to fit into a group, there is a stigma attached to healthy eating. Healthy foods are branded as ‘not cool to eat’ foods. It isn’t ‘normal’ within teen peers to say that you enjoy food at the school cafeteria. Good nutrition messages which come from home and school can be shunned as adolescents move away from their parents world. Concurrently and subconsciously we are the role models for our children. Teenagers still look to their parents as eating and health role models. For teenage daughters in particular, mothers’ attitudes about weight, diet and body image do play a key role in our teenager’s world.
Teen’s Lifestyle Influences
The Media has an increasing role for teenagers. The internet is at the finger tips of teens. We know adolescents spend a lot of time online. Facebook, Twitter, Chatting are all social media outlets that play a big role on teenagers’ opinions. Magazines and television show unrealistic images of lean and elegant or strong and fit that teenagers strive for.
The Home Situation with two-income households, single parents, step-parents also play a role in teenagers eating habits.
The Financial Independence of older teens which allows for nutritional decisions separate from parents’ influence.
A Teenage Nutrition Series on BrightonYourHealth
I have two teenagers at home and I wanted to share with you my insights on how to support a teenager’s nutritional needs with their everyday balance of becoming a young adult and making their own decisions on what to eat. The adolescent period also brings social and psychological changes as the teen branches away from the ‘nest.’
Here are the articles published from this series on teenage nutrition.
Feel free to click on the links here:
Teenagers and Energy Drinks, Teens and Endocrine Disruptors, Teens and Eating Disorders, Healthy Breakfast Ideas for Teens, Teens and Caffeine, Importance of Good Nutrition in Teens, Vitamin and Mineral Supplements in Teens,Vegetarianism in Teens. and Hormone Changes in Teens Affect Their Smell.
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