What do I need to know about nutrition?
Adolescents need extra protein and iron to support their rapid growth. Girls need to make sure they replace the iron and protein they lose every month when they menstruate. Junk food does not have the complex carbohydrates, dietary fibre and important nutrients like Vitamin A and D that are essential for healthy growth especially during adolescence.
What are Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia?
Anorexia nervosa and Bulimia are serious medical illnesses seen in teenagers who are obsessed about being thin. For example, a girl with anorexia nervosa will almost starve herself because she is extremely frightened that she will gain weight. Girls with Bulimia eat too much and vomit because they are frightened of becoming fat.
Are Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia easy to treat?
Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia are difficult to treat because they have serious underlying emotional and psychological problems.
Why should I exercise?
Exercise keeps weight under control, improves sleep and boosts energy levels and helps to manage stress. Exercising to maintain a healthy weight from adolescence will reduce the chances of serious diseases like type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure as an adult.
What about alcohol?
Most teenagers are given their first drink by a friend.. Experimenting with alcohol as a teenager will affect your health and studies. You are likely to become moody and irritable, find it difficult to concentrate, become anxious, and your school performance will suffer. You will also look and smell bad.
Why do people drink?
People drink for many reasons such as relaxation, to be sociable (social drinking), because they are lonely or to feel more confident of themselves. Alcohol is a depressant and not a stimulant of the brain. Alcohol acts by lowering inhibitions and making it easier for people to do things they wouldn’t do normally. Alcohol also affects a person’s judgment and reflexes.
What is spiking?
A dangerous practice seen at some private parties is “spiking” or adding stimulant drugs to alcoholic drinks. Spiked drinks mess with your mind, makes you behave in bizarre and dangerous ways and increases the risk of death by overdosage. Generally, the earlier you start drinking and the heavier you drink, the sooner you will damage your health. Be a smart teenager - don’t start.
What about Tobacco?
Smoking kills. Most teenagers who smoke were given their first cigarette or puff by a friend. Children whose parents smoke are more likely to become smokers themselves. Smoking tobacco is dangerous because it has nicotine, poisonous gases and a substance called tar.
What are the health risks of smoking?
Nicotine causes addiction and the tar causes cancer. Smoking increases the risk of serious illnesses such as stroke, heart attack, asthma, diabetes, and most cancers On average, smoking will reduce your life span by at least 10 years. Smoking causes lung cancer and is implicated in many other cancers such as the mouth, stomach, bladder and prostate. It is the leading cause of heart disease.
What are the signs that one is addicted to smoking?
Teenagers who get addicted to smoking develop a chronic cough (smoker’s cough), produce phlegm, become short of breath on exertion and lose their stamina. Food may not smell and taste as good because the hundreds of toxic chemicals found in cigarettes dulls the taste buds.
Why is quitting smoking difficult?
Once the body gets used to having nicotine in the system, i.e. nicotine tolerance, attempts to stop smoking causes withdrawal symptoms. The person feels stressed out, sad, has difficulty in sleeping, feels irritable and is unable to think clearly and concentrate.
What is passive smoking?
Passive smoking or second hand smoking happens when a person who doesn’t smoke breathes in the air produced by smokers. This is why smoking is banned in public places including public transport and offices.
What about e-cigarettes?
The Electronic or E-cigarette, is a recent sophisticated nicotine delivery device,that releases nicotine in a vapour form and closely mimics the act of smoking. The vapour does not contain tar or the toxic gases found in cigarette smoke. Therefore it is promoted as less dangerous than the conventional cigarettes. Studies have shown that E-cigarettes should not be used by young people because it causes nicotine addiction in them.
How do I quit smoking?
Quitting smoking requires determination. Studies have shown that quitting smoking will increase the life span by 10 years. So it is never too late to stop – but the smart teenager will not start.
What about drugs ?
Most adolescents get introduced to drugs by friends. What starts as an experiment may become a habit and worsen into addiction. The common drugs in Sri Lanka are cannabis (weed) and heroin. Taking drugs is a punishable offence. Many people regret they are addicted to drugs. Be a smart teenager – never start.
What are the risks of injecting drugs?
Injecting is the fastest way to feel the effects because the drug reaches the brain immediately. It is also the most dangerous way because of the risks of taking too much (overdosage) and infection. Drug addicts often share needles and this exposes them to the risk of HIV and Hepatitis B and C.
How do drugs affect our health?
Drugs affect your mental and physical health. They act by changing the chemical structure of your brain. These changes affect your emotions, mood and behavior. People who take drugs get depressed, anxious and violent.
What happens when you overdose on drugs?
People who inject drugs may accidentally inject too much. This is called over dosage and is usually fatal.
How can one stop taking drugs?
Stopping drugs is difficult because as with all addictive substances, stopping causes withdrawal symptoms. Drug rehabilitation programmes provide medical treatment including psychological support for people who want to stop drugs. Rehabilitation takes time.
What about pornography?
Porn is a global industry that exploits sex to earn megabucks. Porn films and videos use various camera tricks to show sexual acts in ways that cause high levels of sexual arousal among viewers. The unnatural picture of sex given in pornographic material creates false expectations of sex, violent sexual attitudes, and behavior. Selling pornographic material is a punishable offence.
Can I get addicted to pornography?
Addiction to porn is dangerous because it damages your emotional, psychological and physical health. It may lead you to start having sex at an early age, and have many sex partners (promiscuous), which will increase your chances of becoming pregnant or catching a STI. Young people who watch on-line porn and do chat rooms may end up as victims of on-line sexual abuse.
What about social media?
The Internet, social media such as Facebook and Twitter and various web-based applications and mobile phones are extremely popular among adolescents and youth because it suits their lifestyle.
What about cybersex crimes?
Cybersex crimes are on the increase in Sri Lanka. Young people are sometimes forced to share pictures of themselves undressed via mobile phones. The pictures are used to force the them to have sex on the threat of telling her parents. The pictures may also be uploaded to various pornographic sites with photoshopping.
What is healthy sexuality?
Healthy sexuality simply means attaching a positive value to your sexuality and safeguarding it till it is possible to enjoy a mutually satisfying intimate relationship the partner of their choice, with trust and respect and without violence and coercion. Smart teenagers know that healthy sexuality is essential to becoming a healthy and responsible young adult.
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