The over-all health condition of teenagers today is probably the most important aspect of human life that needs to be addressed. Healthy living attitudes can affect how these teenagers interact and respond to his/her environment. Different people have different and specific health perspectives.
Different factors like age group, location, economic status, social status, etc. can affect the health attitudes of a person. It is important, therefore, to know the specific needs and attitudes of the society adolescents serve to ensure that these perspectives are changed. Likewise, a teenager’s overall health condition and awareness can affect how it interacts and responds to its local and international dealings.
A low awareness or interest in the part of the youth towards health adds up to yet another problem. Health can actually spell the difference between development and failure of that country. The main point of this study then is to know through checking the influences of the environment on physical activity and behaviours of teenagers on eating.
Especially for a country as large as the USA, one cannot assume that the health need of a state, or even a district or a town, is the same as another. Otherwise, health care will be like a shot in the dark, it often misses the target. Health is too important for health service to be uncertain.
A health service agent must look upon the basic demographics of the population he (or she) serves for the simple reason stated above: health is too important for him to be unsure of their needs. Since he is the bridge between the people and the health care providers must know first hand what kind of health service those people want and need.
The health needs of people from an urban community are most definitely different from the needs of those in the rural area and he has to make sure both these people get what they need.
General Perceptions on Healthy Living
In our society today, many teenagers are giving less attention to the content of the food they are eating. Everyone is busy attending to their leisure or studies. The foods that are available in the market, on the other hand are not as fresh as the foods that were available before.
Almost all of the food manufacturers are doing their best effort just to produce food that will save their money. They produce foods that will last longer than it should be. This affects further a teenagers’ outlook on what to eat because usually, the food they eat is not really of nutritional value at all.
Aside from the issues regarding the food contents that many teenagers are eating, there are other things that are alarming. That includes the notion that many adolescents, especially in the United States do not care about their body built, size of their body, and of course their weight. Everyone is caught up with the things that they find really enjoying that they tend to forget the important things in life.
It is not surprising if the obesity rate nowadays is high. With all the amenities that give comfort to the people especially those engaged for the so called MTV Generation of adolescents. Everyone is after the things that make them comfortable. Thy hate the tiring work and exerting too much effort or giving out a lot of energy on a certain thing it is not a virtue anymore.
It sucks having to walk really long. Not to mention the exhausting work because of all the demands of the fast-paced life. Because of the demanding lifestyle, teens often resort to the ready to eat packed foods. These kids do not have time to eat or cook delicious and healthy foods. Everyone is getting the ready to cook foods and other foods that can be found in different fast food restaurants.
In this kind of environment today, it is not surprising if you will find a lot of teenagers who are obese, to simply put – people who are fat. Even though that school and play are stressing, adolescents do not lose weight because of their tendency to splurge on foods that have a lot of cholesterol. That is their way to relieve stress.
Working out is not an “in” thing to teenagers which could be focused upon by such a health program. But this does not mean that all of the teenagers nowadays are fat. There are still the chosen few who chose to control the volume of food they are eating. There are still gym buffs who are so after their body built.
These teenagers are those who are very conscious of how they look. These young people are those who are very conscious with their physical appearance. But then again this does not mean that they are health conscious. Not all slim adolescents have a healthy diet. Some deprive themselves of healthy foods, some even turned to be anorexic or bulimic.
Under this program, adolescents’ perspectives regarding the consumption of food will be focused in detail. In a random sample done for teenagers aged from 13 to 15 years old, an interview was facilitated in order to obtain their views that concerns with food as well as their belief associated with food.
It shows that almost all of the 81 respondents find food as something that could either be healthy or would belong to “fast” foods. An analysis of the information obtained points to the perception of acceptance of these food types to teenagers that vary and is subject to the location of consumption that also differed. With this, there is now an emerging need to influence the consumption patterns of adolescents have to be based on an understanding of their complex belief systems.
Importance of a social communication program to health
Considering the complexity of fast foods and the volatile public opinion on health issues, it is not simply a matter of truth on the matter but presenting such truths to the public (Peckham, 2003). Whoever could present the most credible position and arguments could influence the public to the extent that it could influence their buying behaviour.
Langill (2004) discusses the application of social marketing principles to health promotion and healthy living. As a behaviour change technique, social marketing has proven effective in motivating people to make the complex and difficult behaviour changes that can improve health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases
Diet and Nutrition: Fast Food
Many members of the society have expressed the opinion that fast food establishments are not healthy for teenagers, particularly after many nutritionists published their findings about the disadvantages of fast food.
Marion Franz as stated by Goldstein in 2002 said that Fast food commonly has a number of problems that were outlined in the health patterns of today’s youth. The author furthered that a typical meal may contain half of the body’s daily caloric requirement as well as the entire daily sodium intake (Goldstein 2002).
Even though fast-food restaurants did introduce their own interpretation of ‘healthy options’ in order to attract customers looking for ‘healthy’ choices, they failed to meet ‘healthy standards’ despite all their efforts. This further influences a lot of teenagers today to opt for fast-food chains than eat home-cooked meals which are more nutritious in value.
GOLDSTEIN, A. (2002) A Campaign to Educate Teenagers Towards Healthy Living.
LANGILL, R. (2004) Adolescents and Health, McGraw-Hill Publishing House.
LOCOH, T. (2000) Adolescent Bahaviours Towards Eating, Stockholm, Stockholm University Press.
MAYOR, A. (2004) American Youth Culture, Sydney, Australia, Phoenix Publishing.
PECKHAM, S. (2003) Bringing Health Care to Schools. Nursing Standard, 33-38.
TREFFERS, J. (2003) Children in the Growing Society Columbia University Press.