February 2020

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Health Capsule

Teens Taking Charge of Their Health

Becoming a teen means taking more responsibility for decisions about your body and health. It’s important to understand how your body works and what it needs. That way, you can make smart choices about what you eat and how you keep active. Start by creating healthy habits now.

Eating a good diet is an important place to start. By choosing healthy foods and drinks, you can give your body the nutrients it needs. Nutritionists recommend filling half of your plate fruits and vegetables. Teens need more of certain nutrients like calcium found in milk, yogurt, and cheese—and vitamin D, found in dairy, fortified cereals, and tuna. It’s a good idea to reduce added sugar from foods like cookies, candy, and soda.

Staying at a healthy weight is important, too. But extreme dieting isn’t the answer to extra weight. Cutting out whole food groups or skipping meals can be unhealthy and won’t result in long-term weight loss. Unhealthy dieting can also affect your mood and how you grow. Instead, try to make small changes you can stick to. NIH has online resources to help you reach and stay at a healthy weight.

Regular exercise is also key. Experts recommend teens get 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Three of those days should include a vigorous exercise like jogging or biking.    

Learn more about nutrition, sleep, activity, and more.