Investing in the health of children especially teenagers is very important. It will break poor health cycles and they can contribute as human resources shortly. Adolescence is a transition period that one grows and develops. Puberty is around 10-13 years for girls and 11-14 years for boys. The main aim is to prevent diseases and to maintain a healthy life. But implementation is quite challenging. Nutrition should be determined by sexual maturation and not in the order of chronological age.
Adolescence constitutes about 17% percent of the total population. In India, it is 20.9%. There is an increase in adolescent obesity leading to the growing concern of diets of adolescence. This population consumes a large amount of energy, eats nutrient-poor foods, and sugar-sweetened beverages and there is a low intake of fruits and vegetables. The role of family, friends, and surroundings are considered as nutrition gatekeepers. They play a primary role. Among this role of parents is very important. Studies show that three-quarters of adolescence enjoy eating a good meal at home accompanying their family members. It highlights the importance of the home environment in the matter of adolescent nutrition. Adolescent reproductive and sexual health is also an increasing concern due to socio-cultural and health-related reasons. Under the National Health Mission, the reproductive health of adolescents is given priority along with maternal health, the health of newborn babies, etc.
Family, friends play an important role in educating the youth about nutritious food habits. Schools and colleges also play an important role in helping students establishing healthy eating habits by providing consistent messages about good nutrition and health. Healthy habits reduce physical stress, make the students sharper, etc. Nowadays nutrition education is a part of health-related programs that empower children with knowledge and skills to make healthy food. Serving locally produced food in the school meal programs is done to increase nutrition among youth and encourage community participation. Children should be educated in schools for following healthy habits. Cooking lessons, gardening can be implemented for better results. Intaking organic foods are also important. Consuming whole grains like wheat, rice, oats, oatmeal, vegetables, and fruits is essential. Eat fat-free or low-fat products that have high calcium content. It is also important to eat fish, nuts, seeds, peas which have high protein content. Important tips to remain healthy are to reduce salt content while you cook, drinking plenty of water for hydration, boiling, or baking instead of frying, last but not least is to exercise daily.
This article does not intend to hurt the sentiments of any individual, community, sect, or religion, etcetera. This article is based purely on the author’s personal opinion and views in the exercise of the Fundamental Rights guaranteed under Article 19(1)(A) and other related laws being enforced in India for the time being.
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