Teen Health Issues
Should I go on a diet?
It seems like every time you turn around, someone is talking about dieting. Every tabloid at the supermarket has details on the hottest celebrity fad diets. Whenever you turn on the TV, there's another infomercial raving about a liquid diet plan or diet supplement. During gym class your best friend always complains about her "big" hips and how she's going on a diet to get rid of them.
This constant focus on weight and dieting may leave you wondering whether you need to go on a diet yourself.
The truth is that not all teens who diet actually need to lose weight. Many times, friends, family, and society influence the way we see our bodies. Pressures like these can prompt some teens to take drastic dieting measures, leading to malnutrition and eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. And because teens are still growing, drastic dieting can be especially harmful to their developing bodies. Other teens may mistakenly think that in order to be in top form for their chosen sport, they need to be as thin as possible.
These pressures are one of the reasons why the best person to see when you have a question about dieting is your doctor. Your doctor can help you determine what is a healthy weight for your body size and shape. He or she can help you decide whether you need to be on a diet at all. And if necessary, your doctor can refer you to a dietitian or nutrition specialist.
Building a Healthy Body
There are healthy and unhealthy ways to lose weight, and in the long run you are better off taking the healthy route. If you and your doctor do decide that going on a diet is the right thing for you, he or she can help you come up with a plan.
Even without seeing your doctor, you can make smart food choices that will keep you healthy. Rather than drastically cutting calories, try substituting healthy food choices for not-so-healthy ones. Instead of chowing down on chips when you get home from school, try a piece of fruit or some vegetables.
Simple low-fat substitutions can make a huge difference in your calorie intake as well. For example, skim or low-fat milk or water are better drink choices when you're thirsty - soda and fruit drinks are loaded with calories and sugar and short on nutritional benefits.
Another thing to keep in mind is that exercise can help you feel and look better. Regular exercise tones your muscles while you burn calories and fat, and it makes you look sleeker and slimmer. Remember that toning up takes time. Running the mile in gym class once a year won't make a difference in overall weight loss, so start slowly and work up to it.
Whether you go on a diet or not, exercising and healthy eating are excellent ways to keep your body in great shape. Cutting down on the time you spend in front of the computer or TV can help you boost your activity level and may even help you snack less. And research shows that people who exercise regularly are more likely to maintain their new weight if they've lost weight. So, get moving and keep your health on track!
Over the past few years, body art has become popular, and it's hard to walk down the street, go to the mall, or watch TV without seeing someone with a piercing or a tattoo. Whether it's ears, lips, nostrils, eyebrows, belly buttons, tongues, or even cheeks, you've probably seen piercings - maybe multiple piercings - on lots of people. You might think body piercings look cool and you've thought about getting one. But are they safe? Are they a good idea? And what should you be aware of if you do decide to get one?
What Is a Body Piercing and What Can You Expect?
A body piercing is exactly that - a piercing or puncture made in your body by a needle. After that, a piece of jewelry is inserted into the puncture. The most popular pierced body parts seem to be the ears, the nostrils, and the belly button.
- If the person performing the piercing provides a safe, clean, and professional environment, this is what you can expect from getting a body part pierced:
- The area you've chosen to be pierced (except for the tongue) is cleaned with a germicidal soap (a soap that kills disease-causing bacteria and microorganisms).
- Your skin is then punctured with a very sharp, clean needle.
- The piece of jewelry, which has already been sterilized, is attached to the area.
- The person performing the piercing disposes of the needle in a special container so that there is no risk of the needle or blood touching someone else.
- The pierced area is cleaned.
- The person performing the piercing checks and adjusts the jewelry.
- The person performing the piercing gives you instructions on how to make sure your new piercing heals correctly and what to do if there is a problem.
Can I prevent Acne?
Contrary to what you may have heard, acne is not caused by dirty skin, eating chocolate, or drinking lots of soda. Acne is caused by overactive oil glands in the skin. These glands become stimulated when puberty hormones become active. Some people have more of a reaction to their hormone levels than others, which is why different people have different levels of acne.
Although there is no surefire way to prevent acne, there are several ways to help reduce the number and severity of your breakouts.
Washing your skin is essential (it helps remove excess surface oils and dead skin cells that can clog your pores), but washing too much can actually cause damage by overdrying your skin or irritating existing acne.
Remember to wash after exercising because sweat can clog your pores and make your acne worse. If you work around greasy food or oil or if you've been sweating from heat or because you've been working hard, wash your face and other acne-prone areas as soon as possible.
If you use skin products, such as lotions or makeup, look for ones that are noncomedogenic or nonacnegenic, which means that they don't clog pores.
If you can't live without your hair spray or styling gel, be sure to keep them away from your face as much as possible. Many hair products contain oils that can make acne worse.
If you get acne on areas such as your chest or back, avoid wearing tight clothes, which can rub and cause irritation.
Some teens find that over-the-counter products can help clear up acne. It may take some time to find the one that works best for you - some may not do the trick and others may cause irritation. Over-the-counter acne products come in different strengths; the typical acne-fighting ingredients are benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid.