BlessWorld Foundation International

Affecting the World Through Health
A Global Health Initiative

Exercise and Nutrition of Youths and Adolescents, as it affects Global Health



Exercise and nutrition are major determinants of global health and wellbeing, particularly for adolescents and youths who are still in the developmental stage of life. Physical activity and healthy eating in adolescence are significant to growth and development, and can prevent, or delay several health conditions- specifically chronic conditions. The lack of appropriate nutrients and physical activity has become a global health challenge that hinders the growth, development and overall health of adolescents and youths. Given the inventions and fast pace of the 21st century, most adolescents are caught up with too much screen time and fast foods which are major barriers to physical activity, healthy eating and ultimately, global health.

According to an article by the American Heart Association (AHA), physical activity improves both mental and physical health as well as the overall quality of life. AHA recommends 30 minutes of moderate activity for 5 days weekly- at least, a total of 150 minutes of physical activity or exercise in a week. For nutrition, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, proteins and oils are healthy eating options proposed and recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Additionally, reduced sodium intake and calories from fats and sugars are also recommended for healthy growth and development.

Many adolescents go to school, this makes the school environment one of the best places to provide students with opportunities to learn and practice healthy behaviors. Having a healthy breakfast and sufficient hydration are associated with improved memory function and overall mood, which are important for learning and comprehension. Physical activity causes a “feel good” sensation which can instantly relieve tension, stress, anxiety, depression and anger. Exercise also improves blood circulation, maintains healthy weight, boosts good cholesterol level, boosts energy level, inspires positivity, improves sleep, improves healthy self-image and increases muscle strength. In general, chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease and other health conditions can be prevented by engaging in physical activity (exercise) and adequate nutrition.

Just like poor diet, lack of physical activity and increased sedentary lifestyle can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Studies have shown that adults who spend more hours watching television have an increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease. More so, absence of regular physical activity leads to loss of physical strength, stamina and possibly, reduced life expectancy- all which are detrimental to global health.

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