Adolescent Health and Fitness
Did you know?
- Eating breakfast jump starts your metabolism and improves your school and athletic performance.
- The calcium you eat now will protect your bones when you are an adult.
- Drinking two cans of soda each day for a month, gives you 9,000 extra calories.
- Smoking one cigarette releases more than 4,000 chemicals into your lungs.
- Teenagers can show signs of nicotine addiction from smoking cigarettes within weeks or just days of starting to smoke.
- Alcohol poisoning is a drug overdose that kills over 4,000 children/year.
- Marijuana impairs your ability to learn. It takes your body 8 days to remove 90% of the chemicals.
Goals for good health/safety
- Prevent serious injuries by wearing bicycle helmets, mouth guards and other protective gear – 100 % of the time.
- Wear a seatbelt and insist all others wear their seatbelts. Do not ride in a car with a driver who has been drinking or using other drugs.
- If you have a parent or grandparent with high cholesterol or a heart attack/stroke before their mid 50’s, ask your doctor about having a screening blood test.
- Say no when you feel peer pressure; whether it is related to cigarette/drugs use or being touched in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable.
- Recognize when your need extra help; whether it is related to feeling unhappy, stressed, anxious, or feeling like you want to harm yourself.
- Know how to reach your parents in an emergency. Make a plan for when you do not feel safe.
Nutrition and physical activity
- Eat 3 meals/day, including breakfast. Examples of nutritious breakfast foods include: high fiber cereals, whole grain toast with peanut butter, cottage cheese, eggs, a smoothie with low fat milk. Eat a healthy balance of protein, fruit/vegetables, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains.
- Eat 1-2 healthy snacks/day. Examples include: apple w/cheese, banana w/peanut butter, smoothie w/yogurt and frozen fruit, ½ sandwich on whole grain bread.
- Eat together as a family at least several times/week.
- Do not drink too many sweetened beverages (soda, juice, sports drinks, lemonade)
- Daily physical activity is important to your health. Exercise at least an hour a day.
- Take part in “lifestyle” exercise such as walking, biking or rollerblading to school, walking your dog, walking faster than usual to the train/bus stop, mowing the lawn or your neighbor’s lawn, taking stairs instead of elevators.
- To prevent becoming overweight, avoid grazing on snacks, too much junk food, fast food, juice & soda.
- Nutrients and vitamins that are often lacking: calcium (1300 mg/day), vitamin D (400-1000 IU/day), iron (10-15 mg/day), and fiber (20-30 gm/day).
To sleep or not to sleep?
- Not getting enough sleep can impair academic and athletic performance.
- It is more important when you sleep than how much you sleep.
- Instead of staying up late, go to bed early and wake up early to finish your homework.
Feel proud and comfortable with your decisions and actions
- When something bothers you at home, school or in your community, make sure you feel like you have people to talk to: parents, friends, teachers, a counselor
- If you feel like injuring yourself that is a sign that you need the help of an adult.
- Experimenting with cigarettes and/or other drugs put you at risk. Your brain is still developing. Drugs can damage your brain, especially the part that deals with memory and learning. Alcohol and other drugs can slow down the development of social skills andself confidence.
www.youngwomenshealth.org, www.youngmenshealth.org – for teens written by teens
www.teenchicago.org – the Chicago History Museum
www.teenhealth.org – Nemours Foundation, answers and advice
Nutrition and physical activity:
www.mypyramid.gov – U.S. Department of Agriculture
www.eatright.org – American Dietetic Association
www.4girls.gov – National Women’s Health Information Center for girls 10-16 yrs
www.vrg.org – Vegetarian Resource Group
www.al-anon.alateen.org – support for families/friends with alcoholism
www.iwannaknow.org – answers to questions about sexual health for teens
www.nyayouth.org – National Youth Advocacy Coalition
www.siecus.org – Sex Information and Education Council of the U.S.
Alcohol and Drug Helpline: 800-821-4357
Anti-Violence Project Hotline: 773-871-CARE
Horizons Community Service, Lesbian and Gay Helpline: 773-929-HELP