Summer Tips for Teens

GlaxoSmithKline and the National Parent Teacher Association conducted a survey in late March, 2006, to determine the top summer health concerns parents have for their adolescents: Parents' Summer Health Concerns The parents rated a list of 10 health issues related to their young adolescent. Here is that list, along with the percentages of parents noting concern about those issues:

Knowing what to do in an unsafe situation: 77%
Understanding how to be safe online: 75%
Making healthy food choices: 71%
Getting a sunburn: 61%
Getting injured while playing sports: 56%
Getting bitten by a tick: 46%
Swimming or playing at a pool, lake, or beach not attended by a lifeguard: 46%
Getting stung by a bee or wasp: 44%
Suffering from heat/sun stroke or dehydration: 44%
Being exposed to an infectious disease: 42%
**Almost all parents -- 95% -- said they want their child to be active and fit over the summer.
**Nearly a quarter said their child doesn't get enough exercise over the summer.
**About half said their child spends too much time watching TV or playing video games.
**Other concerns: exposure to alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, wearing inappropriate or revealing clothing, hanging out with friends parents don't approve of.

HOW DO I HAVE THE BEST SUMMER POSSIBLE?

o Before summer begins, remind your children about safety in talking to strangers and adults that are not well known to them. "Stranger Danger" should be discussed throughout childhood AND adolescence. The facts: 1 in 5 girls will be molested before their 18th birthday, 1 in 6 boys. 90% of all sexual assaults are perpetrated by someone the victim knows. Discuss safety issues with your adolescent throughout the year so they know how to protect themselves in any situation!

o KNOW THE WHO, WHAT AND WHERE your adolescent has been on the internet! There are many programs you can buy that track virtually everything your adolescent does online. Especially if they are at home alone for some periods during the day, it is better to be safe than sorry. You are not intruding on their privacy...you are keeping them safe. Keep in mind that 1 in 5 adolescents have been sexually propositioned on the internet. Discuss internet limits and boundaries with your teen before summer begins, so you both start off on the same page.

o Often, adolescents will eat when they are bored, especially in the summertime. Keep healthy food choices at home, so your adolescent is less inclined to graze on junk food.

o Discuss ground rules at the beginning of the summer regarding what is appropriate for activities and what is expected of your adolescent. If they know ahead of time what the limits, boundaries and expectations are, there is typically less opportunity for problems as the summer goes on. It may be beneficial to have family meetings throughout the summer to stay in touch and discuss any issues that come up. Family meetings are not a time for discipline or punishment. They should be viewed as an open forum for everyone to discuss and be heard. Often during the summer, they can be a great way to connect with the family and "check in." Many families often do activities as a family after meetings to spend family time and keep in contact.

o Know who your adolescent's friends are! If you do not like someone whom they are hanging out with, get to know them. If you still don't approve, tell your adolescent and be up front about your concerns. As a parent, you CAN forbid your adolescent from hanging out with someone you don't approve of. Yes, it may cause an argument and be uncomfortable, but trust your gut instinct.....it could stave off many problems in the future.

o If you have a concern that your adolescent may be using alcohol, drugs or cigarettes, ask them. Be up front and let them know your concerns. If they are not open and honest with you, they will know that you are "on" to them and most often sooner rather than later, you will find out the answer. Again, discuss rules and boundaries with your adolescent before summer starts. Let them know what the consequences will be for serious problems.

o Be very specific about what kind, style and type of clothing you approve of for your adolescent. As a parent, you DO have the right to throw something away that you disapprove of, even if you didn't buy it!

o Have a rule that your adolescent checks in with you whenever the change locations when they are out with their friends. This way, you will know where they are at, who they are with and have more peace of mind.

Tammy Daniele, LCSW, received her Master's degree from George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. Tammy helped develop and create the Early Emotional Development Program at Washington University School of Medicine. Past clinical experience includes work with depression, eating disorders, self-injury, anxiety, adjustment disorder, grief work, trauma and divorce issues. Tammy has worked extensively with the court systems in dealing with the emotional impact of divorce. She has provided expert witness testimony in divorce and child abuse/neglect cases. In addition, she has facilitated reunification of parent/child relationships after divorce. Tammy has a certification in divorce mediation from Northwestern University and provides mediation services pre and post-decree. Tammy practices Collaborative Law as a divorce coach and child specialist. Tammy is a member of the National Association of Social Workers, the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois, the Mediation Council of Illinois and the Association for Conflict Resolution.

Adolescent Psychology

Adolescence is the intermediary stage of growth between childhood and adulthood. It represents the period of time during which a person is subjected to an array of biological transformations and runs into a number of emotional tribulations. The ages, which are termed to be part of adolescence, vary by ethnicity and extend from the preteens to nineteen years. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), adolescence encompasses the epoch of life between 10 and 20 years of age. Adolescence is an especially unstable as well as a vibrant period of any person?s life.

Adolescent psychology deals with the issues related with adolescence. Numerous psychologists all over the world now recognize this as a distinct phenomenon. This has led to the establishment of a separate class of specialized psychologists to deal with the issues of the adolescence. The American Psychological Association has a special segment to assist them.

Psychological issues of adolescents may include maturity in body, which leads to a curiosity about sexual activities, sometimes leading to teenage pregnancy. Apart from that, there is a tendency to experiment with drug and alcohol use.

In some cases, cerebral problems such as schizophrenia, eating disorders, and depression may also arise during adolescence. The emotional insecurity among some adolescents may also tend to cause instances of crime among youth. It is often seen that searching for a distinctive identity is one of the problems that adolescents face. It is also common for individuals to express their desire to be more like their role models such as athletes, rock or pop stars, and film and television performers.

Relationship with peers plays an important role in analyzing adolescent psychology. It is seen that 90% of adolescents associate themselves with a peer group. Adolescents receiving support from their peers are less probable to fall into depression or face anxiety. It is also seen that depressed individuals find it difficult to make friends. The nature of an adolescent?s behavior is greatly influenced by his friends and companions. Adolescent psychology has gained prime importance in the recent past due to increased cases being reported about adolescent depression and anxiety.

Adolescent Obesity

The population of overweight adults has now reached 1 billion, of which 300,000 are suffering from obesity. By far, WHO considers adolescent obesity to be an epidemic of global proportion. This phenomenon has affected both developed and developing countries. Obesity is considered as one of the major causes of hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, certain type of cancer, and type 2 diabetes milletus. The changing diet patterns, inactive lifestyles and the absence of healthy recreational facilities in the community have been identified as the causes of adolescent obesity.

Obesity is determined through measuring the body mass index of a person, which means that the weight in kilograms is divided by the square of height in meters (kg/m2). A person is considered obese if the BMI reaches above 30 k/m2. If the BMI is more than 25k/m2 but below 30k/m2 the person is already overweight. As BMI increases, the likelihood of acquiring health related risks conversely increase. If the population of adolescent obesity continues to balloon, it is expected that more adults will be suffering from the dreadful and debilitating health effects of obesity.

Psychological and social problems are likewise adverse effects of obesity, specifically adolescent obesity. Obese adults more often than not withdrew themselves from social groups for fear of ridicule. They developed a low self-esteem because being fat or obese is considered unattractive. They are often the source of jokes among their peers. The longer they experience alienation from their age group the more they succumb to depression, which may pose another health problem. Being fat is not socially bad after all, but if this line of thinking should be supported, many adults will be suffering from depression and other health problems.

One contributing factor to the rising number of obese adults is the media. Adults are bombarded with so many information regarding lifestyle food. Quick service restaurants are mushrooming in highly urbanized cities around the globe that mostly cater to the youth sector. Dishes that are cooked with high saturated fat that is of animal based and high in sugar content are also a major factor of obesity. Young have more time spent watching televisions program or playing games with their computers than playing a more physical recreational activities.

More than anything else obese adults need support in keeping and maintaining their ideal body weight. Any weight reducing diets programs or weight loss exercise course of therapy may prove futile if not followed strictly. Support from their significant others plays a vital role to curbing obesity among them by helping them to have self-discipline in achieving their goal to become healthy and physically fit.

Need to Review the Definition of Health by WHO in the Light of Research in the Parapsychology Field

The current definition of health by World Health Organization includes physical, mental and social dimensions of health. But even a cursory look at the current state of the world reveals that social health is conspicuous by its absence. There is severe unrest in almost every country.

Crime rate is increasing in almost every country. There is steady increase in alcohol abuse, drug abuse, human trafficking, child abuse (physical, psychological and sexual), terrorism, rampant corruption and breakdown of families. Not a day passes without reports of murder and rape.

All the advances in science and technology have not helped people to enjoy peace of mind and happiness. The reason is the neglect of spiritual development. Today's average man is running without knowing where he is going.

Leading psychiatrists while trying to manage problems like anxiety, depression and phobias have realized that man is not just a combination of body and mind but has a soul as well which survives the death of the body. Specialists in other fields have also realized that man has a spiritual dimension as well. Many reputed scientists including a few Nobel Prize winners are convinced about the existence of soul. Hence there is a need to redefine health and include the spiritual dimension of health.

We still do not know the exact cause of many diseases. Extensive research in the field of past life regression has revealed that many health related problems have their roots in our previous lives. Reincarnation is not a myth but a fact. Searching for reincarnation research or reincarnation proof will yield a long list of results.

Mere redefinition of health by itself will not solve all the problems. But if more and more people understand the cosmic law of cause and effect and realize that their actions come back to them they will certainly try to reform themselves. When leading doctors in every country start organizing seminars, radio talks and TV shows about the scientific evidence for the existence of soul and reincarnation people will certainly take interest in the topic. People will begin to understand that the purpose of human life is to grow spiritually and realize our true nature.

WHO should encourage every member country to accept the new definition of health which includes the spiritual dimension and modify the medical education accordingly. Doctors have to play an important role in helping people to enjoy sound health. In order to do this effectively doctors should first have comprehensive understanding of health.

Physical health cannot be maintained without taking care of psychological health and psychological health cannot be protected without tackling spiritual ignorance. Needless to say psychological disturbances lead to social problems.

Modern medicine has been a predominantly disease centered and treatment oriented system. There is a need to change this approach and give primary importance to prevention of disease and maintenance of health.

It is also desirable to combine modern medicine with Ayurveda in order to promote holistic health. Ayurveda which is at least five thousand years old gave the most comprehensive definition of health incorporating physical, psychological and spiritual dimensions of health.

Ideally everyone should have some social responsibility. Doctors perhaps should have it to a greater extent as they are responsible for health. We are affected by what happens in our society. No one can be safe in his house if his neighbor's house is on fire.

Humanity has paid a heavy price for neglecting spiritual development. Another equally serious threat to world peace is religious fundamentalism. By promoting scientific spirituality we can counter both the threats and establish a new world order based on Truth, Right conduct, Peace, Love and Non-violence.

I request all the like minded people to support an online petition requesting the World Health Organization to review the definition of health and include the spiritual dimension. This is the link- http://www.change.org/en-IN/petitions/world-health-organization-review-the-definition-of-health-and-include-the-spiritual-dimension

Arun Kumar Suri is a pediatrician by profession. His website Healthy Family Happy Family is dedicated to various family issues with particular attention to child and adolescent health. The articles on the site look at the common childhood problems from different angles. It stresses the need to lead a balanced life giving equal importance to materialistic and spiritual aspects of life. You can visit his website at http://www.homebusinessandfamilylife.com/

Teens and Risky Behavior

Studies have linked risky behavior in teens to a variety of factors, including chemical imbalances, peer pressure, trauma, exposure to lead, too much protein and not enough carbohydrates, rejection by peers and television. Risky behavior has also long been identified with race and ethnicity and family income and structure. But in the fall 1998 issue of the Journal of American Psychology, neuropsychologist Deborah Yurgelun-Todd, Director of Neuropsychology and Cognitive Neuroimaging at McLean Hospital Brain Imaging Center, the psychiatric teaching hospital at Harvard University, linked risky behavior in teens to their underdeveloped prefrontal cortexes.

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to compare the emotional processing of healthy 10- to 18-year-olds with that of normal adults, researchers focused on the level of brain activity in the amygdala, a region that guides instinctual or "gut" reactions, and the frontal lobe, the seat of rationalization and reasoning. They found that "when young adolescents process emotion, the level of brain activity in the amygdala is higher than the activity in the frontal lobe. However, as adolescents progress into adulthood, there is an age-related shift: activation in the amygdala decreases while activity in the frontal lobe increases," according to the study's published results.

"These results suggest that adolescents are more prone to react with 'gut instinct' when they process emotions, but as they mature into early adulthood, they are able to temper their instinctive 'gut reaction' response with rational, reasoned responses," says Yurgelun-Todd.

This gut instinct, combined with raging hormones, peer pressure and the stresses of life--especially in these times of terrorism and war--can equal some otherwise intelligent teens doing some stupid stuff, including experimentation with drugs and alcohol, self-injuring such as cutting, racing cars, playing chicken with traffic, unsafe sexual practices, acts of aggression or violence, petty crimes such as theft, etc.

And though in many ways, risk taking for teens is the norm--it is how they grow and develop and try new things--risk taking becomes a problem when it becomes a way of life. Robert W. Blum, MD, PhD, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Minnesota found in the study, "Protecting teens: Beyond Race, Income and Family Structure," part of the congressionally mandated Nationally Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, known as Add Health, that unhealthy behavior in teens was linked to "having close friends who drink or smoke or who are involved in weapon-related violence, having a friend who has attempted suicide and having problems with school work were linked to" substance abuse, weapon-related violence and suicidal thoughts and attempts (for white and Hispanic students, in particular).

Blum says, "Too many kids--rich and poor--are left to their own devices. Kids need structure to grow and to be healthy." It is up to parents and educators and caring adults to provide that structure for teens and to help them make safe decisions.

Most teens' risky behavior peaks between the hours of three and eight p.m., what some child psychologists have termed the "witching hour". A report from the U.S. Attorney's General's Office states, "When we send millions of young people out on the streets after school with no responsible supervision or constructive activities, we reap a massive dose of juvenile crime."

Other risky behaviors for teens, besides crime, that increase during the after school hours include tobacco usage, illegal drug usage, firearm "play", drinking and drunk driving and sexual activity, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

Some parents and health care professionals may think that religion keeps kids from risky behaviors, but researchers at Pennsylvania State University found that "adolescents who were more religious were healthier...Yet, in some cases, oddly, being religious actually increased a teen's risky behavior...Adolescents with religious parents were more likely to report driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol." These teens were also less like to wear seatbelts. Researcher Grace O'Neill says, "Logic would say this is backward--but religious people tend to believe, 'If I'm going to die, I'm going to die."

So what can parents do to help their risk-taking teens, especially during this time of high stress from terrorism, war, crime increases, etc.? University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers suggest parents start by working with issues that are less controversial and threatening, to provide teens with relatively safe opportunities to practice their decision-making skills. For example, let your teen determine which after-school activities to participate in. This way your teen gets to make a decision for himself and also finds something positive to occupy his time during some of the "witching hours". Other "safe" decisions you may permit your child to make include hair color, number of earrings, etc.--things that aren't life-threatening and can be easily changed. By starting with smaller decisions that allow your teen to develop his sense of self as well as his decision-making skills, you are helping him build positive lifelong learning patterns.

Like in some many other areas of your teen's life, open and nonjudgmental communication can be the key to limiting risky behavior, both in the frequency of occurrence and in the scope (amount of danger) of the behavior. Most of life is about taking risks; it is how we grow, develop, explore and learn. By maintaining a positive family environment and by modeling positive risk-taking, we can help our teens through this risk-taking, prefrontal cortex developmental time.

Jill L. Ferguson is a writer, editor, public speaker and professor of Creative Writing, Literature and Communication at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She writes often about parenting and teen topics. In the 1990s, she worked as a substance abuse and violence prevention consultanat. Her novel about teenage angst, Sometimes Art Can't Save You, was published in October 2005 by In Your Face Ink LLC (http://www.inyourfaceink.com).

Adolescent Stress And Depression

Although the adolescence period is characterized as the happiest phase of life, stress and depression are common problems marked at this stage of life. Several scientific studies focus on determining the prevalence of adolescent stress and depression in cross-cultural backgrounds. These studies confirm that the risky behaviors of adolescents are universal and crucially governed by their experience to stress, depression and other societal factors. However, depression has a genetic root as well. The disease may run through generations.

The Experience Of Stress And Depression Are Real

Many teenagers are seriously affected with the experience of stress and depression. They may rely on their negative or positive behaviors while dealing with their problems. Stress features feeling of anxiety, frustration, worry and withdrawal and a typical session of stress may last for few hours to few days. On the other hand, depression is much more complex and elaborative process that features intense feeling of sadness, hopelessness, isolation, feeling of unworthiness and a complete withdrawal that may last for longer periods, say, for few days to an entire lifetime, for example.

Common Causes Of Stress And Depression During Adolescence

The most common cause is of course breakup with partners. Apart from that, continuous arguments with parents or parental figures may play a significant leading role in the development of stress, anxiety and depression. Sibling jealousy, conflicts between parents, change in financial status of parents, sudden death or serious or terminal illness of either or both parents are the other important causes that can be considered as important factors.

Although it seems that the adolescents who show anti-social behavior are a problem for society, the fact is that they are also in trouble with their own lives. There are several factors that can make an adolescent vulnerable to self-destructive behavior. These factors may include family history of depression, alcoholism or drug use by family members, sexual or physical abuse, prolonged history of illness in family, sudden death of parents, family conflict, feeling of rejection, criticizing parents, educational pressure and many others.

Depressed Adolescents React Differently

A huge number of adolescents find ways to cope with their depression and stress, others don't. For the later group, the stressful events keep piling up, so do their problems in life. The higher the degree of depression and stress, the higher the rate of suicide or suicidal attempts among adolescents, as research confirms.

Kenneth Kender writes about health, about positive thinking and about healthy foods without hype and in plain everday English. His work is published both offline and online. His latest online project is a website called http://www.SignsOfDepression.info where he helps you to learn what depression is all about and what you can do to avoid or cure it.

Adolescent Acne

Producers of acne medications oftentimes focus on teen acne more closely than any other acne; other types of acne, such as adult acne and baby acne, tend to get less attention than acne pertaining to teens. Contrary to popular knowledge, there is another type of acne as well- adolescent acne. Although most would consider this to be the same as teenagers, the adolescent group includes preteens and those slightly younger as well.

The adolescent years are a time when appearance is everything. Youngsters who suffer from adolescent acne tend to be picked on by their peers and, as a result, may suffer from low self esteem and/or depression.
During these pivotal years, most will experience at least a mild form of adolescent acne- whether it is an occasional pimple or an ever-present gang of whiteheads, acne has affected almost everyone during their adolescent years. Young people often wonder, "Why am I having breakouts?" The answer is oftentimes a simple one. Constantly changing hormones is usually the culprit. Once an adolescent reaches a certain age, the hormones become balanced and the skin condition usually subsides.

There are several easy ways to control, or even get rid of, annoying adolescent acne. One simple way is to keep the skin as clean as possible. This minimizes the amount of oil, which causes acne to form, that collects in the pores.

Next, another way to combat adolescent acne is for the youngsters to adopt a healthy eating pattern. Fruits, vegetables, and a lot of water keep the skin hydrated and also allow the body to rid itself of harmful toxins which could cause breakouts.

Lastly, in conjunction with healthy eating habits, young people can use over the counter products to help minimize adolescent acne. Products with a gentle exfoliants help to unclog pores as well as remove any dead skin still left on the face and other acne prone parts of the body. Adolescents must be careful not to overuse these products though; doing so can aggravate the skin and cause more breakouts.

Current Health Articles on Second Hand Smoking

Getting rid of habits like smoking is not easy. However, people are becoming aware of the dangers of second hand smoke and are trying to keep their families away from these dangers by smoking near a window of the house or by opening all the doors and windows for better ventilation. Current health articles have mentioned very specific that this does not really function as even the slightest residual of smell in the air can affect other people and specially children.

Many people are aware of the dangers of second hand smoke, however, they are not aware of the deep effects; even the smallest of residual of that smoke that sticks to your clothes and furniture is also very harmful.

Current health articles also have mentioned that since this is such a great problem, it will be a very good idea to create a better awareness among smokers to find better ways to protect those around them to avoid the problems that they are already having. Another important fact that current health articles have mentioned also is that the children of parents that smoke are most likely to smoke themselves in their adolescent years only.

Current health articles have reported that there is no risk free level of tobacco exposure and that the smoke of tobacco contains chemicals that can create all kinds of cancers. And the worse news is that the chemicals get more concentrated in second hand smoke.

Current health articles advice for people to be extremely cautious about second hand smoke. It is very important for parents to think about quitting smoking, however, it is also understood that this is not possible so easily. Therefore there are certain measures that you can take to avoid second hand smoking especially for your children.

If you are a smoker and you have children at home, smoke outside of your house. That is the only way to avoid them from coming in contact with the deadly chemicals which will affect their health in the long run. Current health articles also advice to avoid smoking where there are pregnant women, since this is also a dangerous way of getting your future children at risk of contaminates.

Don't smoke on your car. Even if you are alone, the smoke will stick to the materials in the car and even though you may not think, the chemicals will still be there when others come and sit in the same car. This is the extent to which the chemicals are able to linger in the atmosphere and that is why it is very important to take proper precautions.

Teenagers - Vitamin and Mineral Requirements

Adolescents need plenty of vitamins and minerals during their growth spurt. For girls, this generally occurs around 10 to 11 years of age, while for boys it occurs later, at around 12 to 13 years. Nutritional and energy needs at this time are greater than at any other time of life, except during pregnancy and breast feeding.

As an adolescent goes through physical and biochemical changes, there is an increased need for certain vitamins. The following vitamins play significant roles:

    Folic acid and vitamin B12 are needed as tissue synthesis occurs rapidly.
    As the calorie intake increases, the need for vitamin B1 (thaimin), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), and vitamin B3 (niacin) also increases.
    Vitamin B6 and vitamin D are needed in higher amounts for tissue growth and skeletal growth.
    The completed structure and function of newly formed cells relies on the presence of vitamins A, C, and E.
    There is a continued need for calcium, magnesium and zinc so that the bones can increase their density.

Throughout adolescence, the occurrence of inadequate diets is higher than in any other stage of development. The following has been found in relation to teenager's nutrient intake.

    Calcium, zinc and iron are often lower than the required amounts.
    Vitamin A and vitamin C have also been found to be low.
    The phosphorus intake can be high because of the quantity of soft drinks consumed and this can have an adverse effect on the calcium balance in the body.
    There can be an over consumption of high sugar and refined carbohydrate foods.
    Generally, adolescents who skip meals, eat smaller amounts of food, and have fewer healthy snacks (such as, fruit or yogurt) have the least adequate diets.


Supplements for adolescents

Adolescence is a time of increased vitamin and mineral need and it is also a time when adolescents are prone to developing poor eating habits. It is recommended that in addition to tyring to eat a healthy diet that teenagers take a good multivitamin and mineral supplement. The supplement should contain at least the following:

Contents Per Tablet

    Vitamin A 500 - 1,200I Us
    Vitamin B1(thaimin) 2 - 10 mg
    Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) 2 -1 0 mg
    Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) 2 - 15 mg
    Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) 10 - 25 mcg
    Vitamin C 25 - 150 mg
    Vitamin E d-Alpha 10 - 50 IUs
    Biotin 20- 50 mcg
    Calcium Pantothenate (B5) 30 - 60 mg
    Choline 5 - 15 mg
    Bioflavonoids 5 - 25mg
    Folic Acid 50 - 100 mcg
    Nicotinic acid 5 - 10 mg
    Nicotinamide 10 - 20 mg
    Beta-carotene 2 - 5 mg
    Iodine (from Kelp) 10 - 25 mcg
    Calcium (element) 50 - 150 mg
    Chromium 20 - 30 mcg
    Iron (element) 2 - 3 mg
    Magnesium (element) 20 - 60 mg
    Selenium (element) 10 - 25 mcg
    Zinc (element) 2 - 4 mg


What you can do to help

Adolescents are becoming more independent and making many food decisions on their own. Adolescents tend to eat more meals away from home than younger children. They are also heavily influenced by their peers.

Meal convenience is important to many adolescents and they may be eating too much of the wrong types of food (such as, soft drinks, fast-food and processed foods).

Further, a common concern of many adolescents is dieting. Girls may feel pressure from peers to be thin and to limit what they eat. Both boys and girls may diet to 'make weight' and 'look good' for a particular sporting or social event. So we need to try to encourage a healthy weight, making food choices that are healthy and being involved in some physical activity each day.

The following are some tips to help adolescents develop healthy eating habits:

    Arrange for teenagers to find out about nutrition for themselves.
    Encourage and support their interest in health, cooking, or nutrition.
    Take their suggestions, when possible, regarding foods to prepare at home.
    Experiment with foods outside your own culture.
    Have several nutritious snack foods readily available. Sometimes, teenagers will eat whatever is convenient.
    If there are foods that you do not want your teenager to eat, avoid bringing them into the home.
    Avoid buying high calorie desserts or snacks, such as snack chips, regular soft drinks or regular ice cream.
    Provide a good role model of healthy eating and living for your teenager to follow.
    Discuss the following healthy eating recommendations with your adolescent to help ensure a healthy eating plan:
    Eat three meals a day, with healthy snacks.
    Eat plenty of fiber and limit the use of salt.
    Drink a lot of fresh filtered water.
    Try to avoid or at least limit caffeinated drinks and drinks with a high sugar content.
    When cooking, try to steam, bake (without added fats or oils) or broil instead of frying.
    Try to avoid high sugar and refined carbohydrate foods.
    Eat? fresh fruit or vegetables for a snack.
    Try to eat at least five servings of fresh fruit and vegetables per day.
    Eat more chicken and fish than red meats.

The teenage years are a time of rapid growth and development. It is also a time when eating patterns and habits are often not as good as they could be. This places teenagers at the risk of developing one of the many nutritionally related health problems. Providing vitamin and minerals supplements is one measure that can be taken to help ensure that adolescents have the nutrition their body needs.

References

Bland, J. 1996, Contemporary Nutrition. J & B Associates.

Davies, S. and A. Stewart., 1997, Nutritional Medicine. Pan.

Elliot, N. 2004, Green Peace. Practical Parenting.

Holden, S., Hudson, K., Tilman, J. & D. Wolf, 2003, The Ultimate Guide to Health from Nature. Asrolog Publication.

Pressman, A. and S. Buff, 2000, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Vitamins and Minerals. (2nd Ed.) Alpha Books.

Soothill, R. 1996, The Choice Guide to Vitamins and Minerals. A Choice Book Publication.

Sullivan, K. 2002, Vitamins and Minerals: A Practical Approach to a Health Diet and Safe Supplementation. Harper Collins.

Dr Jenny Tylee is an experienced health professional who is passionate about health and wellbeing. She believes that health is not just absence of disease and seeks to actively promote vitality and wellness through empowering others. She encourages people to improve their health by quit smoking, cleansing their body, taking essential vitamin and mineral supplement and many other methods, including herbal remedies. Visit Dr Jenny's blog and join her newsletter for more quality information.

The Importance of Life Skill Education

Have you ever been depressed in your life? I guess we have all had our challenging moments when the world seemed to cave in. Over time, we learnt how to face such setbacks. Barack Obama beautifully outlines one such moment in his autobiography "Dreams from my Father." There is a lot of emphasis on academics and sports in schools. Is there any thought given to helping children and adolescents to grapple with the perplexing emotional and social challenges that they sometimes need to confront? Many youth suicides and depressing phases in children/adolescents can be averted with the right kind of education to the child and the adolescent. This is where life skill education can play a great role in alleviating such trying moments in a child/adolescent. Life skills are the abilities which enable the individual to effectively deal in a positive and adaptive manner to the challenges of everyday life as per the World Health Organization. The World Health Organization has endorsed such education as a key factor to improve the quality of life of youngsters. Countries all over the world have started incorporating life skills in their education system with at least one hour per week allotted to it. Trained educators have been appointed to facilitate activities to improve students' emotional and social skills.

Emotions can be moderated and a balanced emotional state can be maintained only when the student is well aware of the emotions going through him/her. The building up of self-awareness is a crucial aspect of life skill education. Reflective exercises and the maintenance of a personal diary which serve as a healthy channel for the pouring out of emotions in the sometimes fragile psyche of an adolescent makes the journey into adulthood a little smoother. Empathy is another component that needs to be covered extensively. It is the ability to put oneself in another person's shoes and look at the world through the lenses of another person. Group discussions, debates and team activities can be incorporated to enhance the level of empathy along with field trips as a volunteer to hospitals, orphanages, old-age homes, etc. Yoga and meditation may also be taught as part of life skill education. The overall character of the adolescent is enhanced in this way. Well-rounded individuals ready to step into the adult world and embrace its complexities with their feet grounded on firm soil will emerge due to an increased focus on emotional and social skill building. These individuals will be better equipped to cope with the growing challenges of modern life with a sense of balance and poise.

Specific Conditions and Health Issues That Can Benefit From Physical Therapy

There are many health conditions and mobility issues that can be treated using physical therapy. Most practitioners of this kind of healthcare service specialize in different fields of physiotherapy. And even though this type of medical practice has been around for quite some time now, most of the general populace is still unaware of the various advantages and benefits that physiotherapists have to offer. The following is just some of the areas where physiotherapy has long been used to evaluate and treat physical disabilities and conditions that have long plagued mankind.

    Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Physical Therapy - for individuals who have suffered from cardiopulmonary conditions or those who may have undergone cardiac or pulmonary surgery, a good cardiovascular and pulmonary rehabilitation program may be necessary to restore their endurance and overall physical health. Physiotherapists practicing in this field have a basic goal in mind, to help the patient gain his strength and independence in terms of mobility and functionality.

    Neurological Physical Therapy - sufferers of neurological diseases and disorders like cerebral palsy, Alzheimer's disease, ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, as well as people who have gone through brain injury, spinal cord injury and stroke are all susceptible to mobility issues and seriously impaired motor functions. A neurological physiotherapist's job is to assess and aid these types of patients in restoring their independence through a specially designed physical therapy or rehabilitation program.

    Pediatric Physical Therapy - more often than not, some of our youngsters need some type of physiotherapy, especially those who may have genetic or congenital diseases that have left them unable to function properly in the outside world. A pediatric physiotherapist can help in diagnosing, treating, and managing certain health issues that some infants, children, and adolescents may be suffering from. These types of physical therapists have the capacity to detect specific symptoms in infants and toddlers who cannot really communicate yet and provide a workable and effective treatment that will allow these children to function and grow up as normally as possible.

    Geriatric Physical Therapy - just like our children, most of our elders will require the services of a good physical therapist as well. With the various health issues that most senior citizens are suffering from these days, a geriatric physiotherapist will never run out of patients to treat any time soon. As we grow old, our body will begin to show signs of degradation. Osteoporosis, arthritis, certain types of cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and other health issues associated with old age are just some of the conditions that geriatric physiotherapists can and will encounter. Senior citizens who suffer from or have undergone hip and joint replacement, incontinence, and balance disorders can also benefit from geriatric physical therapy.

    Orthopedic Physical Therapy - perhaps one of the most common specialties in physiotherapy, orthopedic physical therapists diagnose, help manage, and treat conditions and injuries related to the musculoskeletal system. People recovering from orthopedic surgery, sports related injuries, and amputations are the main focus of orthopedic therapists. Apart from diagnostics, management and treatment programs, practitioners of this field are also capable of providing strength training and prevention programs to individuals leading an active lifestyle.

The above mentioned physiotherapy specialties are just some of the practices in the field of physiotherapy.

Although there is a specific discipline of physical therapy for every type of injury, health disorder or physical disability, their expertise as physiotherapists are a welcome addition to the healthcare service industry.

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Treating Heroin Addiction in Adolescents

Adolescents, in particular, are vulnerable to addiction because their brains are still in development and are not fully formed. This means they are still malleable, and therefore are able to be influenced physically by chemical compounds. This can have far reaching consequences for them, as it may ultimately affect how they finish maturing into adults. Too heavy of drug use during this period can effectively cripple a teenager for life.

One of the worst drugs a teenager can become involved with is Heroin. This is for a variety of reasons, but perhaps the biggest is the fact of how addictive it is. There have been instance of a teenager developing a physical addiction to the drug after using it only a single time. This makes the drug extremely scary for parents for obvious reasons.

Another thing to keep in mind about heroin is the withdrawal symptoms. These can be acute and very painful. Sometimes the person who has the addiction is going to need to do a lot of vomiting for instance. Other times they will experience other symptoms of varying degrees of unpleasantness. These can range from the mild such as problems with your sleeping cycle, to the more severe, such as extreme physical or muscular pain that can result when a person is going through withdrawals.

There are a variety of ways that you can treat addiction, but they all have one main feature in common. The best thing to do is to make absolutely sure that you are getting all traces of a drug out of a person. That way, you know that you are really only dealing with residual physical dependency issues. This in turn makes it easier to isolate the mental problems the teenager may be dealing with so you can treat those as well.

Other things to keep in mind can include the fact that it is very easy to relapse into past behaviors. Most addicts experience a relapse at least once into their old drug using behaviors. This means that not only must these individuals constantly get the actual treatment they need, but also that they must be watched to make sure they are not interrupting the treatment plan.

It is most difficult to treat adolescents because of their age. Everyone feels bad for these children and they need to get the help they need to shake off their addiction and drug use issues. The time to do this is while they are still young, because they really need to have these sorts of problems sorted out by the time they become adults. Treating Heroin Addiction in adolescents is a very important function to perform.

Smoking and Dental Health Are More Intimately Connected Than You Would Imagine

Smoking and dental health are more intimately connected than you would imagine

Imagine losing a portion of your cheek at the age of 18? Medical research indicates that smokers are six times more likely than nonsmokers to develop oral cancers. Even those addicted to smokeless tobacco (snuff or chewing tobacco) can develop cancers of the cheek, gums and lining of the lips, increasing the risk by about 50 times.
Oral cancer is in fact one of the most devastating effects of smoking. In fact, the death rate from oral cancers (which includes cancers of the tongue, mouth, gums, tonsils and pharynx) exceeds the death rate from cervical cancer, according to experts.

Who is at risk?

It's believed that the adolescents are at the maximum risk. Over the last 10 years the number of kids under 18 who become daily smokers increased by 70 per cent. Roughly 3,000 kids become regular smokers every day. Worse, almost 1/3 of them will die from a tobacco-related illness (Dental Health Foundation, http://www.dentalhealth.ie/whatsnew/index.tmpl?_eqRIDdatarq=20040224175004)
The susceptibility to smoking starts around age 10 years and peaks by age 14 years in close to 60 per cent of the population. And once thy have experimented, approximately half continue to smoke and become addicted to the nicotine content in cigarettes. An adolescent, who thinks that the health problems of smoking can be alleviated, provided he or she can stop smoking before the age of 35, appears to be at much greater risk of experimentation. Furthermore, older the habit and more the number of cigarettes smoked in a day, harder is it to quit.

The risk of oral cancer in adolescents?

Approximately 75% of all oral cancers are associated with tobacco use or alcohol consumption. In fact, about 3 per cent of male and 2 per cent of female cancer sufferers have oral cancer. The death rate from oral cancer is also high. Only about 50 percent of people who get oral cancer survive for five years or more, in part because the disease often is not discovered until it is more advanced, according to a study carried in Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology.

Early warning signs:

o Sticky tar deposits or brown staining on the teeth. Heavy smokers will have almost brown teeth.

o 'Smoker's palate' - red inflammation on the roof of the mouth

o Delayed healing of the gums

o Increased severity of gum disease

o Bad breath or halitosis

o Black hairy tongue

o Oral lesions

o Gum recession - with chewing tobacco at the site of the tobacco "wad", the gums react by receding along the tooth root, exposing the root

o Oral cancer

Why do young people smoke?

There are a number of complex and inter-relating factors that predispose young people to smoke, and these vary among individuals and among populations. However, years of research have identified certain factors that commonly play a role in smoking initiation. These include high levels of social acceptability for tobacco products, exposure and vulnerability to tobacco marketing efforts, availability and ease of access, role modeling by parents and other adults, and peer group use.
A study in the United States found that among teens who smoke, 85 per cent chose the three most heavily advertised brands of cigarettes, compared to only 35 per cent of adults. Data suggest that children are more responsive than adults to the messages and images contained in tobacco advertisements. Past studies have also shown that influence by their peers is likely the biggest motivator leading to adolescent's experimentation with smoking. Girls in fact are more susceptible to such influences, a trend that carries over to high school according to past findings.

dentists and dental associations can do?

Small wonder that the American Dental Hygienists' Association (ADHA) has now constituted a task force to push its three-step approach to smoking cessation intervention: "Ask. Advise. Refer." Efforts are meanwhile afoot to develop protocols, scripts, and a toolkit to facilitate smoking cessation intervention by dental hygienists. In November 2003, ADHA also received a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Smoking Cessation Leadership Center at the University of California, San Francisco to launch a nationwide effort by dental hygienists to promote smoking cessation.

Smoking is no doubt a serious health problem for our adolescents. However, since abstinence is a long-drawn process, our cessation services need to be made more attractive to teens. So far, interventions with the youth have been relatively brief, without focus and without any longer term support systems. It would also be helpful to know what motivates adolescents to want to quit smoking.
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