Healthy Lifestyle for Teens


Puberty – How Your Body Changes

Your body is changing; your moods could also be unpredictable and generally arduous to elucidate. Don’t worry. These changes are normal. Our guide to immature health is meant to assist you perceive the common physical and emotional changes you’re longing, and deal responsibly with new personal and social situations you may encounter. These changes are called puberty.

Puberty lasts for many years associated marks the life stage once your body is dynamic from a baby to an adult. Hormones help trigger and guide this process. Hormones area unit natural chemicals in your body that manufacture gradual physical changes throughout this point and will conjointly cause emotional changes that may generally appear uncontrollable. These changes area unit common throughout pubescence, and that they happen to everybody. Although it’s going to appear that these changes and feelings area unit out of your management, do not worry—you’re still you, just the “growing up” version.

Common Physical Changes in Girls
Girls longing pubescence usually notice physical changes, like larger breasts, hair growth in new places, acne and changes in the shape of your hips, waste, bottom and thighs. Below area unit a number of the common physical changes you’ll expertise.

Menstrual Periods & PMS
Menstruation may be a turning purpose in your development from a baby to a teen. It’s important to remember that this is natural and something that makes being a woman special.

Larger Breasts
One of the primary changes you may notice area unit your breasts growing, typically between the ages of eight and twelve. Once your breasts begin growing, you may possibly wish to shop for a bandeau.

Hair Growth
Hair can begin to grow underneath your arms, on your legs and on your os space. Shaving your underarms and legs may be a personal selection, however state it with one in all your oldsters initial.

This exasperating condition could also be gentle (blackheads and whiteheads), moderate (larger inflamed-looking blemishes) or severe (large cysts or nodules). Acne is caused by a build-up of oil, microorganisms and dead skin cells in the hair follicles under the skin.

Common Social and Emotional Issues
Today’s young girls face several emotional and social challenges throughout pubescence. Below area unit a number of the common powerful problems you’ll realize, and tips for handling them

Self Esteem & Peer Pressure
The foundation for positive shallowness is constructed at associate early age and is influenced by relationships between you and your family. Your feelings concerning yourself can modification as you grow.

Preparing to date stars with finding the right person, and making responsible choices in your relationship.
Learn More: Dating

Sex & Sexually Transmitted Diseases
When to engage or not engage in sexual relations is one of the most important decisions a person can make. From obtaining pregnant to turning into infected with associate STD, make certain you perceive the risks.

Mental Health & Abuse
Overall health suggests that over merely being in form and feeding properly. Mental health, which includes your thoughts and feelings, is just as important as physical health.
Learn More: Mental Health

Eating Disorders
Eating Disorders
With a additional current preoccupation with look and weight in today’s society, girls may be at risk to develop eating disorders.
Learn More: Eating Disorders

Substance Abuse
During your immature years, it is a good idea to take some risks, like trying new activities or sports. However, some risk-taking behaviors, such as drinking alcohol, smoking and using drugs have negative effects.
Learn More: Substance Abuse

Visiting Your Doctor
Before the onset of pubescence, discuss your questions and concerns with your health care professional. It is conjointly a time for you to assemble written material on a range of health problems, as well as your cycle, birth control and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Facts to Know

  1. Puberty lasts for several years. It is the stage of your life once your body is dynamic from the body of a baby to the body of associate adult. Hormones, which are natural chemicals in your body, orchestrate these alterations in your body.
  2. During time of life, one breast might grow larger than the other. Once your breasts begin growing, the differences will most likely be slight. And your breasts can even out before they’re finished developing. Even if they do not, no need to worry-many women’s breasts don’t match each other exactly.
  3. It might take a minute, perhaps even a year, for your periods to become regular. During the primary year, your cycle (from the start of one period to the start of the next) may be as short as three weeks or as long as six weeks. Even when your amount becomes regular, exercise, stress or a change in diet could throw it off track. If you’re sexually active and skip a amount, talk to your health care professional immediately-you could be pregnant.
  4. An calculable three.2 million cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) occur among teenage girls every year; this translates to one in four teenage girls.
  5. Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death for persons between 10 and 14 years of age and the third leading cause of death for those aged 15 to 24 years. Actions or talk of suicide are cries for help.
  6. Suicide is that the fourth leading reason for death for persons between ten and fourteen years archaic and therefore the third leading reason for death for those aged fifteen to twenty four years. Actions or talk suicide area unit cries for facilitate.
  7. Today, associate increasing variety of teenagers categorical discontent with their bodies Media portrayals of idealised body pictures that area unit phantasmagorical for many individuals area unit part accountable for the rise in teenagers’ dissatisfaction with their bodies. And this idealised body image among young women-and progressively for young men, as well-is resulting in a rise within the variety of teenagers with ingestion disorders.
  8. About 53 percent of all teenage school girls are not having sex, according to a 2002 study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  9. You are presumably to urge associate STD throughout your immature and young adult years-more than simple fraction of all STDs occur in individuals younger than twenty five.
  10. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2007, 39 percent of eighth-graders, 62 percent of 10th-graders, and 72 percent of 12th-
    The Harvard faculty Alcohol Study found a pointy rise (from five.3 percent in 1993 to 11.9 percent in 2001) in frequent binge drinking was noted among women attending all-women’s colleges, and a lesser, however still vital, increase of identical behavior for girls in integrated faculties.

Key Q&A

  1. How long will my period last?Young ladies sometimes begin ill between the ages of 9 and sixteen. A amount lasts from 3 to seven days every month. Don’t estimate your amount being regular throughout the primary year just about. Dieting will alter regularity, as will stress and therefore the quantity of exercise you get.
  2. When is a menstrual cycle considered abnormal?You should call your health care professional immediately if
    • you are sexually active and skip a period
    • you experience severe pain or excessive bleeding
    • your bleeding lasts more than ten days
    • you have bleeding or spotting between periods
    • you have not had a period for the last six months
  3. What is an STD?Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) square measure infections most typically unfold through sexual issues or venereal contact. According to the government agency, 3.2 million cases of STDs occur among teen women each year; this implies one in four teen women has associate degree STD. Unprotected sex and multiple sex partners place youth in danger for HIV infection, alternative STDs and physiological condition. If you’re sexually active, a latex prophylactic device is your best protection against obtaining associate degree STD. It is necessary to grasp the way to use a prophylactic device properly.
  4. Do I have to have a Pap test?You should have a Pap test concerning 3 years once you become sexually active; if you are not having sex, you should have a Pap test by age 21. A Pap test will be done in the health care professional’s exam room and only takes a minute or two. The health care skilled can insert a speculum into your channel and gently swab your cervix. A research lab technician can analyze the results, looking for anything abnormal. Abnormalities could be signs of cervical cancer or viral infections such as human papillomavirus (HPV).
  5. I have been dating the same boy for more than two months and he is asking me when we are going to have sex. When do I have to have sex with him?You never have to have sex with someone. There aren’t any rules concerning once to possess sex and once to not. This call could be a personal one and may not be forced by anyone.
  6. My boyfriend broke up with me three weeks ago and I just can’t get over it. What should I do?Ending relationships can be painful at any age. Learning the way to run through your feelings throughout and once a break-up is vital currently and for relationships you’ll have within the future. If you cannot shake your blues by disbursal time with friends or concentrating on activities you relish, talk to your parents, a counselor or mental health professional. You may be having trouble adjusting. You may even be experiencing depression, especially if you answer yes to several of the following questions:
    • Do you cry more now than you used to?
    • Do you think your life is hopeless or meaningless?
    • Do you have a hard time sleeping, either sleeping too much or falling asleep at night?
    • Do you spend more time alone than you used to?
    • Do you ever think of hurting yourself?
    • Do you often feel worn out?
    • Have you gained or lost weight in the last month or two?
    • Have you noticed significant changes in your appetite?
    • Are you more irritable than usual?
  7. What do I do when I get my period?You’ll need to wear some kind of protection to stop staining your garments. You can choose from an assortment of sanitary pads, panty liners and tampons. You can continue activities and sports that you just relish. However, for activities involving water, you’ll have to be compelled to wear a tampon rather than a pad.

Periods & PMS

Menstruation: An Important Milestone
The most important amendment throughout time of life for several women is their play. Menstruation may be a turning purpose in your development from a baby to a young person. Among different things, it means that you’re capable of turning into pregnant. Your first period can be unexpected. You might be stunned to search out that you simply have some haemorrhage from your channel. Many young ladies may feel frightened by the sight of this haemorrhage or embarrassed if it causes a stain on their underclothes or covering. It’s important to remember that this is natural and something that makes being a woman special. You can avoid embarrassing things by reprehension your female parent or another adult (dads fathom these items, too!) concerning being ready for your amount.

When Will You Get Your First Period?
Your play is probably going to occur between the ages of 9 and sixteen. It usually lasts for 3 to seven days so stops till succeeding amount begins—usually concerning twenty one to twenty-eight days when your amount started. This timeframe—from the primary day you start to bleed till the primary day of your NEXT emission period—is referred to as your “menstrual cycle.”

How Does the Menstrual Cycle Work?

During your oscillation, one in all your 2 ovaries releases one microscopic egg, called an ovum. (Your ovaries area unit fruitful organs some one and a [*fr1] inches long and situated in your lower abdomen, one on both sides of your uterus; ovaries additionally unleash hormones that facilitate to regulate your oscillation.) The egg’s unleash from the ovary is termed “ovulation,” and it usually happens in the middle of your cycle—around day 12 to 14 in a 28-day cycle. Ovulation are often irregular, though, after you 1st begin having your amount.

The egg then moves through one of the two fallopian tubes (the two tubes attached to the top of the uterus that lead to the ovaries). At identical time, body tissues and blood cells are beginning to line the walls of your uterus, forming a thin layer of material that will eventually be shed as your period. The wonderful factor is, you will not feel any of this happening.

If you were to have sexual intercourse at this time (around the time of ovulation), and sperm from a male partner would fertilize your egg on its way to the uterus, you would become pregnant. The egg would attach to the liner of the womb and a vertebrate would grow within you. However, if spermatozoon doesn’t fertilize the egg, your body does not need this lining to support the fertilized egg. So, hormones trigger a special method, and this lining gently falls away from the walls of your uterus and is released from your body through your vagina. This is typically referred to as the menorrhea or amount.

Picking the Right Feminine Hygiene Product

To avoid staining your clothes, you will need to use sanitary pads, panty liners or tampons during your period. Sanitary pads and panty liners fit inside your underwear and are kept in place with an adhesive strip on the back of the pad. There are a variety of pads available with various thicknesses, lengths and absorbencies. Don’t worry—you will find one that fits your body and absorbs your menstrual flow well. Panty liners can be used at the beginning or end of your period when your flow is lighter.

Tampons square measure inserted into the canal to soak up menorrhea. Make sure you read the manufacturer’s directions for putting a tampon into your vagina correctly. Both pads and tampons should be changed every four to eight hours, more often if needed. The number of days a period lasts and the amount of menstrual flow is different for every woman. On heavier flow days, it is not uncommon to soak more than six pads or tampons. But if you find yourself needing to change your pad or tampon more often than once every hour, you should talk to your parent, school nurse or health care professional.

It might take a while—perhaps a year or longer—for your periods to become regular. During the first year, you may have your period as often as once every two or three weeks or as infrequently as once every few months. Your periods may be heavy or light, and blood flow may change from month to month. Even after your period becomes regular, exercise, stress or a change in diet may throw it off track. Don’t feel discouraged—over time you will learn more about your body and your menstrual cycle and be better prepared to deal with your period. If you anticipate your period approaching, you may want to wear a panty liner for extra protection, just in case. After starting your period, if you go for three to six months without having a period, you need to discuss this with a parent, doctor or nurse.

How to Stay Prepared During Your Period
Here are some things you might want to consider keeping with you:

  • Two pads, liners and/or tampons, depending on your preference, in case your period begins unexpectedly.
  • A medication, such as ibuprofen, to relieve cramps and other period-related symptoms. It’s important to make sure that you don’t have any allergies to ibuprofen before taking it, and you should talk with your parent and/or health care professional about how much you can take for your menstrual discomfort. Check with your college concerning the foundations for carrying medication; you’ll got to leave your medication with the varsity nurse.

How Your Period Makes You Feel
You may feel uncomfortable for the few days leading up to your period. Your uterus may contract, causing cramps around your pelvic area (below your belly button). You may also feel bloated or “puffy.” Breast tenderness and swelling, headaches, moodiness, back and leg aches, acne breakouts and nausea are also common symptoms for many young women before and during their periods. These symptoms usually stop or become less severe a day or two after your period starts. If any of these or other symptoms are too much for you to deal with, discuss them with a parent and/or your health care professional. Many symptoms can be relieved by lifestyle changes, such as altering eating habits or exercising or with medications.

  • severe pain
  • heavy bleeding (for example, soaking a pad or tampon every hour)
  • bleeding that lasts more than eight days
  • bleeding between periods
  • skipping a period for six months or longer

Premenstrual Syndrome
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) describes a group of symptoms you may experience seven to 10 days before your period begins. These symptoms flee once your amount begins or shortly once. PMS will embody emotional symptoms, such as crying or crankiness, and physical symptoms such as bloating, breast tenderness or headaches. If you have PMS, you’re not alone. While concerning seventy five % of women and girls United Nations agency shed blood expertise some form of menstrual-cycle discomfort, two to 10 percent of them experience symptoms severe enough to disrupt their normal activities—a condition known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

What are the Signs of PMS?

  • Bloating and weight gain. Do your jeans feel tighter as your amount approaches?
  • Tension, anxiety or crying spells. Do you find yourself overreacting to stress or setbacks? Do you have a “short fuse” just before your period?
  • . Do you feel sad for no reason? Feeling unhappy or blue for each day or 2 are often traditional, but feeling down for a longer time may be one symptom of clinical depression, a serious, but common psychological state condition practised by several teens, as well as adults. Depression causes other symptoms, too, such as feeling tired or sleeping all of the time, or not being able to sleep at all; overeating or not eating enough; and feeling no joy in activities you wont to fancy. Usually, once someone is depressed, she may experience several symptoms. If you’re experiencing anyone or additional of those symptoms, don’t wait or hesitate to speak with your parents and/or a health care professional.
  • Breast tenderness. Do your breasts hurt when touched? Does your bra feel uncomfortably tight?
  • Food cravings. Do you crave chocolate, potato chips or other foods (particularly salty or sweet foods)?
  • Joint or muscle pain. Do you wake up feeling achy even though you haven’t strained anything?
  • Nausea or vomiting. Does your stomach feel upset, even though you’re not eating anything unusual?
  • Headache. Do you have a pattern of headaches in the premenstrual period?
  • Trouble with concentration. Is it harder to study or pay attention in class?
  • Fatigue. Do you feel tired early in the day? Do you feel exhausted when you get home?

How Can You Avoid PMS?

Eat right
It may take a couple of months for some effects to kick in, but you’ll be surprised at the difference the following steps may make:

  • Eat more frequently, but make your portions smaller.
  • Consume 1,300 milligrams a day of calcium, whether through diet or a supplement. (Talk to a health care professional or your parents to make sure you don’t take too much.)
  • Consume 240 to 360 milligrams per day of magnesium, whether through diet or a supplement. (Talk to a health care professional or your parents to make sure you don’t take too much.)
  • Eat a lot of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Cut back on salt, salty foods and refined sugar, especially during the seven to 10 days before your period begins.
  • Cut out the caffeine, which can worsen irritability and breast tenderness.
  • Drink low-fat milk and eat low-fat yogurt, cheese and other calcium rich foods.

Many researchers find that the standard Food Pyramid originally designed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) falls short of being realistic and healthy for many people for a variety of reasons. The USDA revised the Food Pyramid most recently in April 2005 and some modifications have been made. Be sure to talk to your health care professional about what dietary approach would work best for you and your lifestyle.


You need to get aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes most days a week to boost your health and well-being. (Brisk walking, jogging, and bike riding are all forms of aerobic exercise.) Exercise can reduce feelings of fatigue, depression and moodiness.

Lower your stress levels

First, be sure to get adequate sleep. Most teens do not get the eight to nine hours or more of sleep they need to feel their best. You’ll be stunned by what percentage symptoms you’ll cut back once you get enough sleep. Second,
in spite of however busy you’re with faculty, after-school activities or a job, be sure to take time to do something fun for yourself—see a movie, hang out with friends or read a book.

A third strategy several teens notice useful is relaxation. Muscle relaxation or deep-breathing exercises can reduce anxiety and improve sleep. Try respiration deeply, using your lower abdomen, not your chest. Hold a deep lung full of air for five seconds, and then release it slowly. Repeat several times.

Yoga and meditation are popular (and effective) ways to relax and de-stress. There are several approaches to both of these disciplines. Check one intent on see if it would work for you—consider going with an exponent to a center or gymnasium that provides yoga and meditation and creating it a regular practice.

Record your symptoms
Keep a notebook of your symptoms—what they are, when they occur and for how long, when they go away and any factors you think make them worse or better. What you learn from your record keeping, such as a pattern to your symptoms and things that relieve them, may help you manage your symptoms or will give your health care professional some clues about effective treatments.

Talk to your health care professional
If homemade ways are not operating, describe your symptoms to your health care professional or a school nurse or pharmacist. If symptoms are severe or interfere with your ability to do schoolwork or the activities you want to do, you need to take action. There square measure treatments that may create a dramatic distinction in PMS symptoms: antidepressants, birth control pills or injections (these products minimize hormone fluctuations) and pain medications such as ibuprofen (e.g., Advil) or naproxen sodium (e.g., Aleve), which can reduce cramping and breast pain.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a severe form of PMS that affects about two to 10 percent of girls and women who menstruate. In severe cases, PMDD can interfere with school activities and relationships.

Symptoms, that typically set in only before your amount, include:

  • Severe mood swings, depression, irritability and anxiety. Do you experience uncontrollable crying spells, anger or depression so intense you can’t function? Emotional symptoms are the ones most likely to lead your health care professional to diagnose you with PMDD.
  • Sleep disturbance. Do you experience insomnia (inability to sleep) or need excessive sleep just before your period?
  • Difficulty concentrating. Is it impossible or nearly impossible for you to study or pay attention in class?
  • Breast tenderness and bloating. Do your clothes feel too tight? Do your breasts ache?

If you think you may have PMDD, try lifestyle modifications recommended for PMS and talk to a health care professional. Many of the emotional symptoms appear to be associated with low levels of a brain chemical called serotonin. Medication can increase the amount of serotonin in the brain, thereby minimizing PMDD.


MYTH: Chocolate and oily foods cause acne.
FACT: There is no evidence that these foods cause acne. But you should avoid overindulging in chocolate and oily foods because they are typically high in calories and saturated fats and don’t provide much nutrition.

MYTH: Repeated face washing will get rid of acne.
FACT: If you have oily skin or acne, you should wash your face no more than twice a day. Over-washing can dry out the skin, prompting the oil glands to work harder.

What you can do about acne:

  • Wash your face in the morning and at night, and after you work out. You may want to try a cosmetic face mask (usually a combination of moisturizers and other products that help remove dead and dry skin) once a week or a daily benzoyl peroxide product. Benzoyl peroxide comes in strengths ranging from 2.5 percent to 10 percent. You should start out with a low strength once a day and use a stronger product if needed.
  • Experiment with makeup products; ask a parent, friend or sales clerk for help choosing the right product and guidance in putting it on. Some makeup products are oil free and may be a better choice if you have acne. While makeup usually can’t make a pimple invisible, it can minimize the blemish and give your skin a smoother overall tone.
  • Breakouts are loosely associated with stress, so take note of what’s going on when your skin erupts. You may notice your skin disease is related to your amount, a difficult take a look at in school or different stress. If you see such a pattern, you may be able to lessen the problem through stress reduction techniques, such as yoga, breathing exercises or just doing something fun.
  • Talk to your health care professional or dermatologist if your acne seems worse than average or if it’s especially bothersome to you. A variety of prescription treatments are available to combat acne.

Mental Health & Abuse

Mental Health
Overall health means more than simply being in shape and eating properly. Mental health, which includes your thoughts and feelings, is just as important as physical health. During your teenage years, various things may make you sad or get you down—for example, if someone makes fun of your clothes or if you don’t do well on a test for which you thought you were prepared. But if you are constantly feeling down or upset about something, you could be depressed. Depression is a mental illness, but it is treatable once it is accurately diagnosed. Many teenagers experience depression.

Depression & Suicidal Feelings
Depression, if untreated, may cause you to feel like hurting or killing yourself. Suicidal feelings are a very real problem that should be taken seriously. Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death for adolescents between 10 and 14 years of age and the third leading cause of death for those 15 to 24 years old. A 2007 CDC Youth Behavior Risk survey showed 18.7 percent of girls and 10.3 percent of boys had thought about committing suicide and nearly seven percent had tried. If you are thinking about suicide, talk to someone—there are lots of ways to help teens feel better when they are depressed and/or suicidal.

How Do You Know if You May Be Depressed?
If you answered “yes” to several of the following questions, talk to someone about getting help. This person could be a teacher, a coach, your parent, an older sibling or someone else you trust, but talk with someone. Take a few minutes to make a list of people you can call.

  • Do you cry more now than you used to?
  • Do you think your life is hopeless or meaningless?
  • Do you have a hard time sleeping? Are you either sleeping too much or having difficulty falling asleep at night?
  • Do you spend more time alone than you used to?
  • Do you ever think of hurting yourself?
  • Do you often feel worn out?
  • Have you felt unusually irritable lately?
  • Have you gained or lost weight in the last month or two?
  • How is your appetite? Are you overeating or undereating?

Tendencies of Suicidal Thoughts
The following is a list of behaviors that a person who is suicidal might show.

  • Has the person become withdrawn from friends and/or family or undergone a dramatic personality change?
  • Does the person have trouble concentrating, or does the person always seem bored?
  • Does the person often act rebellious?
  • Is the person having a hard time coping with a major life event, such as divorce of parents, death of a sibling or being pregnant?
  • Is the person abusing drugs or alcohol or both?
  • Is the person giving away prized personal possessions?
  • Does the person write poems or notes about death?
  • Does the person talk or even joke about suicide?

If this person is you, your friend or family member, reach out for help and do not keep quiet. Suicide is preventable, but you must act quickly. If you are an adolescent yourself, it is important to involve an adult first. Consider these steps:

Get help from a professional immediately. Don’t wait or hesitate. Call this suicide crisis hotline number (toll-free nationwide): 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) for guidance or 911 to speak with your local emergency services.

  • Ask the person directly if she is thinking of committing suicide. Sometimes just saying the word helps the person feel understood and feel like her or his cries for help have been heard. Actions or verbalise suicide square measure cries for facilitate. Most teenagers square measure trying to find acceptance, understanding, attention and love.
  • Reassure the person that you care about him or her and want to help. Never agree to keep his or her thoughts about suicide a secret. If another person shares with you that he or she wants to die or kill him or herself, tell an adult.
  • Get rid of or lock up all guns, pills and medications, sharp tools including saws, knives, razors and scissors, and ropes and belts.

When the word “abuse” is used in conjunction with teenagers, drug or alcohol abuse is often what comes to mind. But there are several kinds of abuse, many of which do not involve a decision made by the adolescent. There is additionally physical, sexual, verbal and psychological or emotional abuse.

  • Physical abuse is hitting, slapping, beating, cutting, burning or some other type of physically harmful assault.
  • Sexual abuse is unwanted or coercive sexual contact; it also can involve someone being forced to watch sex acts or to look at or take part in pornography.
  • Psychological or emotional abuse is regular or persistent threats, screaming, humiliation or emotional mistreatment. Bullying is a form of psychological abuse.
  • Neglect such as a parent not providing adequate food, clothing and shelter, or exposing a child to environments where unsafe behaviors occur, is also abusive.

Anyone—rich or poor—can be a victim of abuse. And the abuse can come from many sources—a parent, an older sibling, a teacher, a coach or school administrator, a boyfriend or girlfriend, a neighbor, a peer, a boss or anyone.

Eating Disorders

These days, several teenaged ladies categorical discontentment with their bodies. According to Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders, Inc., one in 100 teenage girls between the ages of 10 and 20 have anorexia. And according to the CDC’s 2007 Youth Risk Behavior survey, more than 53 percent of female students surveyed had eaten less food to lose weight in the past 30 days, 7.5 percent of girls reported taking diet pills and 6.4 percent reported vomiting or taking laxatives to lose weight. And the obsession with weight starts early—the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) reports that 42 percent of first- to third-grade girls want to be thinner, and 82 percent of 10-year-olds are afraid of getting fat. Many teenage girls strive to look like fashion models, but the NEDA reports that most fashion models are thinner than 98 percent of the population.

This preoccupation with appearance and weight can become extreme and develop into an eating disorder. An eating disorder is a serious mental illness during which a person takes drastic measures to control his or her weight. Although the favored press paints uptake disorders as moving solely ladies, they can also affect boys, with the same devastating consequences.

Bulimia is a disorder in which a person eats larger amount of food than he or she normally would in an uncontrolled manner, and then does something such as force him or herself to vomit, use laxatives, or exercise excessively, to prevent weight gain. This is often referred to as “bingeing and purging.” A person with bulimia is typically of average weight or overweight. This illness can be very dangerous, especially if the teen forces vomiting regularly—this can disrupt normal blood chemistry and can cause problems with vital organs such as the heart.

Anorexia nervosa

A young person with anorexia nervosa has a distorted body image and sees him or herself differently than the rest of the world does (often at a much larger size than he or she really is) and has an intense fear of gaining weight. This person usually diets severely and loses a large amount of weight. The person often denies that there is a problem or that she or he is too thin. Females with eating disorder UN agency lose a major quantity of weight typically stop sick.

Other eating disorders include binge eating disorder (bingeing without purging), which is strongly linked to obesity. Additionally, obesity is affecting young people at alarmingly increasing rates and, along with smoking, is a leading contributor to serious health problems such as heart disease and diabetes among adults.

How to Tell If You or a Friend Has an Eating Disorder
Teenage girls and college-age women—and increasingly teenage boys and young men—are especially prone to developing eating disorders, mental illnesses characterized by a dangerous obsession with losing weight or staying thin. Teens with uptake disorders could starve themselves (anorexia nervosa), or they’ll binge on food so give or exercise to a fault or take laxatives to purge themselves of the food (bulimia). How can you tell if a diet has progressed to something dangerous?

Anorexia nervosa
Teens with anorexia nervosa starve themselves because they have a distorted body image and believe that they are overweight even when they aren’t. They have an irrational fear of becoming fat and are obsessed with food and weight control.

These behaviors and emotional symptoms suggest anorexia nervosa:

  • Loss of a significant amount of weight
  • Continuing to diet and “feeling fat” even after reaching a goal weight, or becoming visibly thin
  • Irrational fear of gaining weight
  • Obsession with food, calories, fat content and nutrition
  • Weighing oneself once a day or more
  • Refusal to discuss a diet with others
  • Cooking for others but not eating
  • Compulsive exercising
  • Lying about eating
  • Hyperactivity
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Eating large amounts of food and getting rid of it by throwing up, fasting, taking laxatives or exercising excessively. This is called bingeing and purging.

Physical symptoms:

  • Hair loss
  • Loss of monthly menstrual period
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Weakness and exhaustion
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Constipation
  • Growth of body hair on arms, legs and other body parts
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Dry skin and brittle nails

Bulimia nervosa
Bulimia nervosa is characterized by binge eating—the frequent consumption of large amounts of food in a short period of time. A person with bulimia often feels ashamed and/or guilty after binging and as a result “purges” by making himself or herself vomit, using laxatives or other medication to control weight, exercising excessively or fasting. A person with bulimia usually has a normal or a somewhat above normal weight.Behaviors and emotional symptoms:

  • Binge eating, or eating uncontrollably and/or secretively
  • Purging by dieting, fasting, exercise, vomiting or using laxatives or diuretics
  • Using the bathroom frequently after meals
  • Obsession with weight
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Feelings of being out of control

Other symptoms

  • Swollen glands in the neck and face
  • Heartburn
  • Bloating
  • Irregular periods
  • Dental problems
  • Constipation
  • Indigestion
  • Sore throat
  • Vomiting blood
  • Weakness and exhaustion
  • Bloodshot eyes

Binge eating
People with binge eating disorders also compulsively overeat. However, they do not regularly purge and are often overweight. Some people may overeat throughout the day rather than binging sporadically.
Behaviors and symptoms:

  • Binge eating episodes
  • Eating when not hungry
  • Frequent dieting
  • Uncontrollable eating
  • Awareness that eating patterns aren’t normal
  • Feelings of shame, depression or antisocial behavior
  • Obesity
  • Weight fluctuations


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