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Junk food’s a rising problem

By Sushant Shrestha

image00111The teen years are a period of rapid growth and development. In fact, teenagers need more calories during this period than they ever need in their lives, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Teens that eat junk foods – noodles, chips, candy and fast food – to meet their calorie needs do themselves any favor. Loading fully up with junk food may affect teen’s weight, nutritional intake, health and as well as their performance in school and in extracurricular activities and lead to complications like, chronic illness, low self-esteem and even depression. Physical activity is essential for children of all ages.

Regularly eating junk food does not provide the necessary nutrients children need for sufficient energy to engage in physical activity. Lack of physical activity is harmful to physical and mental well being and may also exclude a child from critical social development. According to the journal “American Family Physician,” depression – which can be very dangerous for children – has negative impacts on growth and development, performance in school and social relationships and can ultimately lead to suicide.

If your teen is a junk food junkie, help him/her to improve their health and break the unhealthy eating cycle that may follow them into adulthood. You can also do this by making small changes to a teen’s usual diet. Instead of sugary drinks with meals, offer low-fat milk, water or lemon slices. Keep healthy snacks readily available to make it easy for your teen to eat healthy in between meals. Also, make a habit of eating together with your teens.

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