THE IMPORTANCE OF HEALTH FOR YOUTH

June 2018

With obesity being such a health hazard, it is important for the youth to adopt healthy eating habits.  Proper nutrition is crucial during teenage years as young people have different nutritional needs than adults due to the hormonal changes that their bodies go through.  Improving the health and well-being of the youth will have a positive impact on their current as well as their future productivity.  Poor nutrition decreases the youth’s ability to learn and progress through life.  Adolescent years are meant to be the healthiest times in one’s life as that is when the foundation for health is laid down.  Some young people tend to engage in risky behaviours that can affect their overall health.  In some cases, these risky behaviours can become a lifestyle which can then lead to chronic health problems.

Having a healthy, balanced diet and keeping active is good for teenagers and will help them focus at school, carry out tasks as well as deal with stressful situations – whether at home, school or personally.  Being overweight can affect a person’s self-esteem and increase the risk of diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.  Eating disorders are another challenge that the youth is faced with as they are put under pressure by themselves and society as to how they ‘should look’.  Eating disorders may damage the heart, kidneys, liver and brain.  Families can promote good eating habits for their children by leading by example. 

“A healthy diet and active lifestyle that is started at an early age and maintained throughout can significally reduce the risks of diseases and weight problems in later years.  It is important for young people to maintain healthy lifestyles as they are the future,” says Gert Coetzee pharmacist and diet pioneer who founded The Diet Everyone Talks About.  Below he lists some health hints and tips on how we can contribute to helping the youth live healthier lives.

Don’t skip breakfast. Starting out the day with a healthy breakfast helps boost your energy levels which one to stay focused.  People that eat breakfast are also less likely to snack throughout the day.  You can have a bowl of oats with sliced bananas or berries, whole-wheat toasted sandwich with avocado, eggs and cheese or a whole-grain muffin with a fruit smoothie.

Have more home cooked meals and involve your teenage children to get involved as this will help them learn more about nutrition and a well-balanced diet. Home cooked meals have less carbs and calories than takeaways.

Include more fruits and vegetables in meals as these are loaded with vitamins, mineral, fiber and antioxidants which are all linked to good health.

Encourage the youth to be more active as this helps stimulate mental health, reduces the risks of obesity and also builds strong bones and muscles.

Have healthy snacks such as biltong, nuts and whole grain biscuits around the house instead of chocolate, crisps and sweets.

Try this amazing recipe for ‘Apple Muffins’ which the family can enjoy as breakfast.

Portions:  12 muffins
Prep time:  20 minutes
CHD:  5.9 g per portion
kJ:  490 kJ per muffin

Ingredients

500 ml:  Soya flour
20 ml:  Baking powder
0,5 ml:  Salt
60 ml:  Butter melted
250 ml:  Water

1:  Egg, beaten
2:  Apples, grated

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 220 degrees Celsius
  2. Mix the dry ingredients together.
  3. Mix the egg and butter and add to the above.
  4. Add apples and mix well.
  5. Bake in greased muffin pans (or use large paper cookie cups inside the pans) at 220 degrees Celsius till done or five minutes in the microwave.

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