The saying goes; the child is the father of the man. Teenagers with good health practices are likely to hold on to the practices even in adulthood. To start kids off towards the right path in health and fitness, keep communication lines open. Although many teens may not want to talk about health and fitness, it is an important topic that should not be overlooked. When talking to teenagers about health and fitness, find ways of making the topic interesting and easy to understand. Help kids and teenagers understand the importance of health and fitness and the dangers associated with poor lifestyles. Always stay open with teenagers. Keep asking questions and answer theirs.
How Much Weekly Exercise Should You Get?
It is important for parents to stress the importance of exercise. However, they should not make it boring for their kids. Come up with ways of getting your child involved in exercises that will be fun for the kid such as dance or sports.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), teenagers should get at least half an hour exercise most days of the week. If your teenager cannot sustain half an hour of exercise, break it into two 15 minutes sessions of intense exercises. Regular exercise helps kids maintain a healthy weight, boosts their self-esteem, prevents diabetes and keeps their cholesterol and blood pressure under control.
Do You Eat a Balanced Diet?
One of the top causes of childhood obesity includes poor eating habits and overeating. Make sure your kid eats healthy. Substitute nutritious low fat foods such as apples, baby carrots, nuts and grapes for chips, cookies and crisps that your kid is eating. This will have tremendous effects on the kid’s weight, energy and mood. Five fruit and vegetable servings a day is recommended for teenagers. Take your kid with you when going for grocery shopping to get them more involved in the family’s nutrition.
Are You Getting Enough Sleep?
The National Sleep Foundation recommends eight and a half to nine and half hours of sleep for teenagers per night. However, according to the NSF, only 15 percent of teenagers get this amount of sleep. The results of getting insufficient sleep include inattention in class, lack of interest in extracurricular activities and changes in mood and metabolism among others.
Causes of Unexplained Weight Loss
Sudden weight loss can be attributed to gastrointestinal diseases. Some gastrointestinal diseases cause patients to lose their appetites, which makes them eat less and lose weight. Gastrointestinal diseases block the ability of an individual to absorb nutrients in food eaten; causing the body to act as if the patient is not eating at all. Parasitic infections can also rob the body of essential nutrients.
The endocrine system is responsible for regulating hormones, which control bodily functions. Hormonal imbalances can lead to overactive bodily functions, which makes the body burn more calories than usual. This leads to weight loss and feeling of tiredness even when you maintain your diet.
One of the disorders of the endocrine system is known as hyperthyroidism. This condition leads to an overactive thyroid gland, which increases the body’s metabolism. Increased metabolism burns more calories and speeds up food absorption, meaning people with hyperthyroidism absorb less.
Though parasites can cause unexplained weight loss, other infections including HIV, fungal diseases and tuberculosis can also cause weight loss. The body requires lots of energy to fight infections. Therefore, it burns many calories to fight infections. The burning of calories heats up the body (fever) and leads to fatigue because extra energy is expended fighting the infection. People suffering from underlying infections lose weight even without changing their diets.
Lung, Heart & Kidney Diseases
Diseases affecting vital organs such as the lungs, kidneys and heart strain the body. People with cardiovascular, lung and kidney diseases struggle to perform everyday tasks. Kidney disorders cause vomiting, nausea and loss of vital proteins through urine leading to weight loss. In general, chronic illnesses strain the body and lead to weight loss.
Janet Friers is a health care specialist at Laserase Medical Clinic. When she’s not working she likes to keep fit and the gym and walk her dog Molly.
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