Adolescent Eating Habits

Topics: Nutrition, Health, Obesity Pages: 8 (2487 words) Published: April 9, 2012

A Research Paper

An Assignment
Presented in Partial Fulfilment
Of the Requirements for the Course

INSTRUCTOR: Ms. Alana Alexander- Walker


Melinda Jeanville

April 1, 2012


Table of Contents


Unhealthy Dietary Habits 4

Benefits of Healthy Eating 5

Eating Disorders 6

Junk Food 7

Good Teen Nutrition 9

Sources of Nutrients 11

Enjoying Healthful Foods 11

Conclusion 12


Many teenagers fall into unhealthy eating habits for a variety of reasons; stress, the desire to lose weight, peer pressure etc. These unhealthy eating habits, may not cause damage immediately (although they sometimes do) but they are followed by a host of health issues. Sound nutritious habits play a role in the prevention of common chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease, cancers, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Investigating and understanding adolescent eating habits is necessary to preventing diet-related diseases later in the future. This paper discusses characteristic adolescent eating habits; skipping meals, fast food consumption, frequent snacking, and other dieting practices of adolescents. The nutritional requirements for adolescents are also discussed.

Unhealthy Dietary Habits
Teens engage in dieting practices that maybe less than beneficial, including eating very little, cutting out whole groups of foods (like grain products), fasting, and skipping meals. These practices can leave out important foods that are vital for growth to occur. Other weight-loss strategies such as self-induced vomiting, smoking, and diet pills or laxatives can lead to health issues. Unhealthy dieting can actually cause weight gain since it often leads to a cycle of eating very little, then binge eating. Adolescents may miss meals because of unbalanced schedules. Breakfast and lunch are the meals most often missed, school, and social activities may cause the skipping of evening meals. 12 to 50 % of adolescents miss breakfast; and girls are more likely to do so than are boys (35 and25 % respectively). More than one-half of the adolescents participating in the National Adolescent School Health Survey reported that they ate breakfast less than twice per week. Reasons for missing breakfast include rushing off to early school classes or activities, and poor appetite first thing in the morning. Missing breakfast can negatively affect school performance and contribute to a negative overall diet [ (Americans, 2010) ]. Hunger and food insecurity (i.e., disrupted eating patterns because of financial strains) might increase the risk for lower dietary quality and under nutrition. In turn, under nutrition can negatively affect overall health, cognitive development, and school performance.

Benefits of Healthful Eating
Eating a healthy breakfast is associated with improved cognitive function (especially memory), and mood. Healthy eating helps prevent high cholesterol and high blood pressure and reduces the risk of developing chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. Healthy eating helps reduce the risk of obesity, dental caries, iron deficiency, and osteoporosis Most U.S. youth do not meet the recommendations for eating 2½ cups to 6½ cups of fruits and vegetables each day. Teenagers in the U.S.A tend not to eat the minimum recommended amounts of whole grains (2–3 ounces each day). Teenagers tend not to eat more than the recommended maximum daily intake of sodium (1,500–2,300 mg each day) (CDC, 1998). Empty calories contribute to 40% of daily calories for children and adolescents aged 2–18 years, affecting the quality of their diets. About half of these empty calories...
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