Need to Know: May's Top Teen Health Stories
As part of our never-ending quest to help you foster A+ mental, physical, and social/emotional health in your teenagers, we've compiled a brief roundup of May's need-to-know teen health news stories. (Click each heading to view the news source.)
What you should know: A study of over 3,000 teens revealed a cyclical link between digital addiction and loss of interest in school. Researchers believe that heavy internet use leads to apathy and cynicism toward school, which can then result in more internet use and even lead to depression.
What you can do: Keep in mind that while technology has a wealth of negative side-effects, it's not all bad, and teens are likely using their phones in more productive ways than you'd assume. Check out these five tips for getting teens to open up about their technology habits, and then work with your teen to set realistic usage limitations and replace the screen-free time with something fun, engaging, and educational.
What you should know: A new report from the Lancet Commission points to unsafe sex as the fastest-growing health risk in teens, jumping from 13th place in 1990 to 2nd place in 2013.
What you can do: The report cites that every year of education beyond age 12 is associated with fewer births for adolescents—so start educating! Regardless of your school's sex-ed policy, there are ways to empower teens to think critically about how unprotected sex can affect their future.
What you should know: Teen girls whose diets are loaded with saturated fats (like beef, butter, and cheese) and lacking in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat (like nuts, avocado, and fish) are found to have increased breast density—a major breast cancer risk factor—15 years later. (NOTE: Men have breast tissue, too. So teen boys are not exempt from prevention efforts.)
What you can do: Discuss the risks with your teen so that they'll be onboard to gradually start swapping their unhealthy favorites with more nutritious options. Even better, equip your teens with the knowledge to read and fully understand food labels so that they'll be able to monitor their diet even when they're on their own.
Any more teen health trends we should know about? Tweet us @Choices_Mag!