Lack of proper nutrition
Project EAT, a study conducted by the University of Minnesota looked at 2,500 teenage girls over a 5-year period. Their findings show that 62.7% of female teens engage in unhealthy weight control strategies which include taking diet pills, laxatives, drugs that induce vomiting, as well as regularly skipping meals. The use of diet pills is especially popular. Ironically, these weight control behaviour can actually produce the opposite results. Girls who engage in such strategies are 3 times more likely to be overweight. This creates a vicious cycle of dieting, weight gain and eating disorders.
Lack of exercise
How many hours do your children in front of a screen – be it a TV screen, a computer screen or any other game console? Canadian researcher Dr. Ian Michael Janssen tells Reuters that adolescents nowadays “spend more hours daily in front of a screen than they do in a classroom in a given year.” This translates to lack of physical activity that leads to rising rates of obesity among adolescents. It is estimated that about 50% of Canadian children aged 5 to 17 years old do not get enough exercise. 26% of these children are overweight or obese. Excess weight and obesity are risk factors for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Lack of sleep
In this study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), researchers found a link between poor sleep quality and shorter sleep duration in teens and elevated blood pressure. Poor sleep quality or low sleep efficiency is defined as having “trouble falling to sleep at night or who wake up too early.”
The study looked at 238 adolescents (123 boys and 115 girls) ages 13 to 16 years old. Data on sleep habits and blood pressure were collected. Adolescents with less than 85% sleep efficiency had nearly three times the likelihood of having elevated high blood pressure.
Researchers say the culprit is technology present in bedrooms, be it in the form of phones, music, computers and other multimedia gadgets.
Childhood hypertension shouldn’t be underestimated, ignored or taken for granted. The likelihood of it developing to a full blown adult hypertension and then a serious cardiovascular disease is very high.
The study authors recommend:
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