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Health

Take Charge of Your Health
ATeenager's Guide to Better Health


In This Article:

Family Matters

The Food Guide Pyramid

So, Where Do I Start?

What Counts as a Serving?

Physical Activity

For a Healthy Diet, Eat Daily

Get Moving

Let's Talk About Health

You Are What You Eat!

Staying Healthy and Happy


Let's Talk About Health

  • Get moving. Activity can make you stronger and more flexible.
  • Eat healthy every day. Choose fruits, vegetables,
    breads, cereals, lean meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, and lowfat or nonfat milk and cheeses.
  • Eat slowly. You will be able to tell when you are full before you eat too much.
  • Eat less fats, oils, and sweets. Butter, margarine, oils, candy, high-fat salad dressings, and soft drinks offer little or no protein, vitamins, or minerals.
  • Eat when you are hungry. Your body will tell you when itís hungry. Snacking is OK, but try to go for a variety of nutritious snacks. (See the ideas in the Snack Attack below.)

Snack Attack

  • Baked potato chips or tortilla chips with salsa
  • Pretzels (lightly salted or unsalted)
  • Bagels with tomato sauce and lowfat cheese
  • Flavored rice cakes (like caramel or apple cinnamon)
  • Popcornóair popped or lowfat microwave
  • Veggies with lowfat or fat-free dip
  • Lowfat cottage cheese topped with fruit or spread on whole-wheat crackers
  • Ice milk, lowfat frozen or regular yogurt (add skim milk, orange or pineapple juice, and sliced bananas or strawberries to make a lowfat milk shake)
  • Frozen fruit bars
  • Vanilla wafers, gingersnaps, graham crackers, animal crackers, fig bars, raisins
  • Angel food cake topped with strawberries or raspberries and lowfat whipped cream
  • String cheese

Staying Healthy and Happy

Being a teenager can be tough, and sometimes teens who are healthy try to lose weight even though they donít need to. You may feel a lot of pressure to look a certain way. Acting on this pressure may lead to eating disorders like anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa.

Anorexia nervosa is a form of self-starvation where a person does not eat enough food to keep healthy and does not maintain a healthy weight.

Bulimia nervosa is when a person eats a lot of food and then vomits or uses other methods, such as fasting or
overexercising, to avoid gaining weight after overeating.

If you would like to learn more about eating disorders, see the list of resources at the end of this booklet.

If you are concerned about your eating habits or the way you look, itís important to talk to someone you trust. Try talking to a parent, friend, doctor, teacher, or counselor at your school.

Being happy with who you are and what you look like is important for a healthy body and mind. You donít have to be an athlete, supermodel, or movie star to like who you are and to stay fit and healthy.

You can take charge of your health by making small changes in your eating and physical activity habits. These changes will help you feel and look better now and be healthier for the rest of your life!

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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
National Institutes of Health
NIH Publication No. 01-4328

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