During adolescence there are many changes taking place as a child’s body turns into that of an adult and their nutritional needs increase. Maintaining good nutrition throughout a child’s teenage years is fundamental for their health and wellbeing.
- Peer Effect: – Adolescence is a period when peer pressure can affect teenage eating behavior and they may start skipping meals or possibly under-eating or over-eating. Currently around 20 percent of children and adolescents in Australia are obese and this is due mainly to a lack of physical activity and high fat diets. Behaviors such as extreme dieting, binge eating and bringing up food on purpose also affect more teenagers than adults and more girls than boys.
- Dieting or Overeating? :- Many adolescents see themselves as being too fat, while some, particularly males, see themselves as too thin. About 34 percent of females and 13 percent of males report dieting to lose weight. Anxiety, worry, loneliness and difficulty in managing family relationships are all factors that can lead to a refusal to eat or to excessive eating. Stress and boredom often result in the compulsive eating of certain foods, called “bingeing”.
- Eating while watching Television: -Sitting together for family dinners on a dining table is the last thing adolescents indulge into. They want to stick to their favorite programs and have their food there only. Also media studies on the behavioral effects of advertising reveal that television has a major effect on the products children ask for, and that increased television watching leads to increased requests for advertised products. Television advertising creates misperceptions among children about the nutritional values of foods and how to maintain positive health
- PMSing: – Throughout adolescence a teenager’s iron needs increase significantly. When girls begin to menstruate their dietary iron intake must increase to compensate for the loss of iron in their menstrual blood. At this time boys also need more iron because of their rapid growth and increase in blood volume. Around the age of 19, when growth slows, a female’s iron needs are almost double that of males.