Adolescence is a time of great physical change. However, many adolescents struggle with weight. Watch this lesson to learn more about those weight issues, including how they can fight obesity and issues with eating disorders.
Jessie is 16, and she's going through some changes. She's started her period, and she's fighting acne for the first time in her life. Not only that, her body is growing softer, and she's filling out in the chest and hips. She looks more like a woman than a girl.
But lately, Jessie has been gaining lots of weight. Not just her chest and hips are filling out; she's getting larger and larger everywhere. Jessie is in adolescence, which is the time of life between childhood and adulthood. Generally, adolescence lasts from about age 13 to age 20. During adolescence, people go through some major body changes. Like Jessie, they start looking more adult and less like children, and they become able to reproduce.
With these changes, though, come some problems. One major problem that is facing America's adolescents is obesity, or having too much fat. Though some fat is healthy, adolescents who are obese have a large amount of fat, and this causes many health problems. Let's look at two ways that adolescents like Jessie can fight obesity: fitness and nutrition.
Sports and Fitness
Jessie is very smart. She likes to read and gets As in all her classes. But she'd rather read or do homework than work out, which is part of why she's gaining weight.
Fitness, or the condition of being physically fit and healthy, is a key component in the fight against obesity. By exercising several days per week, Jessie can start to look and feel better. She'll find that she has more energy and is physically stronger. She'll likely shed fat. Not only that, but she might even find that she is even better at school because physical fitness is linked with cognitive (or intellectual) prowess.
There are many ways that Jessie can become fit. She can run or walk, lift weights, dance, do aerobics, try yoga or a number of other things. One fun and easy way for her to be more physically active is to participate in sports, like tennis, basketball or soccer.
Many schools and after-school programs offer sports programs for adolescents. The problem is that not that many teens participate in sports. As teens get older, the competitive level of sports gets higher. For example, a little league baseball team may allow all members to play during the course of a game, regardless of talent.
But by high school, most baseball teams only allow the most talented players to play. This is true for many sports, and as a result, someone like Jessie might feel like she shouldn't even try to participate. But if Jessie can find a sport that she loves and is good at, she might be able to join a team and play. And if she does, she'll find a fun and social way to increase her fitness and help fight obesity.
Besides fitness, the other key component in fighting obesity is nutrition, or healthy eating. For example, Jessie loves to eat sweets: cakes, candies, cookies. All of these are okay in moderation, but she eats way too much of them and way too little in the way of vegetables and other healthy foods.
A healthy, well-balanced diet is important for everyone. If Jessie eats sensibly, she can lose weight and feel better. And, just as with fitness, healthy eating habits are linked to good grades and intellectual gains, so eating her veggies just might make Jessie smarter!
Jessie overeats right now, but there's another side of the coin when it comes to nutrition as well. Jessie has several friends who under eat or don't eat at all. Sadly, eating disorders become more and more prevalent as people move from childhood into adolescence. This partly has to do with feeling self-conscious or uncomfortable with the changes going on in the adolescent's body.
Eating disorders can happen to boys or girls but are most prevalent in adolescent girls. A focus on healthy eating, including a wide variety of foods like fruits, veggies and whole grains, is an important part of eating a well-rounded diet. Adolescents who do not eat enough or who go through periods where they eat a lot and periods where they eat barely anything, should seek help from someone trained to deal with eating disorders.
Adolescence is the time of life between childhood and adulthood. During this time, there are many physical changes going on. Sadly, many adolescents in America suffer from obesity. The two key components in the fight against obesity are fitness and nutrition. Fitness can come in many forms, including playing sports. Nutrition includes eating a healthy, well-rounded diet and not overeating or under eating.
After you've reviewed this video lesson, you should be able to:
- Define adolescence and identify the age range during which it occurs
- Describe some of the changes that occur during adolescence
- Explain some ways that adolescents can combat obesity