Teen star Selena Gomez was recently hospitalized for malnutrition. Since her hospitalization she’s announced that her condition was a result of bad nutrition, not a lack of eating. According to a People magazine article, the 18-year old said that she just has unhealthy eating habits. “The problem is I don’t eat right. I love everything that’s possibly not good for me.”
Gomez claims that she has always had bad eating habits. She mentions that since childhood she’s always added an unhealthy element to her food in order to enjoy it. Gomez also describes her favorite foods as junk food. Since her diagnosis of malnourishment, the star states that her mother is watching her closely and forcing vitamins in her.
This event made national news due to the celebrity status of the patient, but it’s quite possible that this type of malnutrition is common among many teens in this country.
As teenagers grow in independence, begin earning their own money, driving their own cars, and making their own meal choices, are they making good ones?
Fast food is tasty and inexpensive. Junk food is easily available. Many schools still have vending machines full of soda and candy that can easily be chosen as a lunch option. What can be done to make sure teenagers are getting the proper nutrition their growing bodies need?
One of the best ways to ensure a teen will make good food choices is to lead by example. If proper nutrition has been modeled at home and encouraged all along, teens are more likely to honor that value and believe its benefits when they venture out to make their own choices.
There are other ideas to lead a teenager down a healthy path as well, like offering them healthy alternatives to the junk foods they like. Challenge them to see how they feel after a solid week of a balanced diet. Provide them with a water bottle to carry around school. Help them make certain they eat a healthy breakfast every morning so their hunger mid-day does not lead to the quickest fix which tends to be junk food.
Teenagers’ bodies have very crucial nutritional needs. If those needs are not met because they eat only high calorie, low nutrition foods, many problems, including malnutrition, could lie on the horizon. Teens are still young enough to learn new habits and save themselves from a life time of health woes.