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ARCHIVED: Adolescent Health Initiative - Nutrition & Physical Activity
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Only 20% of students Grades 9th-12th eat the recommended daily 5 servings of fruits and vegetables.1 In 2009 it was estimated that 6.7 million US youths (aged 10-19 years) were overweight.1,2

  • Expenditures for children’s mental health services were nearly $11.7 to $14.0 billion in 1998—a threefold increase from 1986.4,5
  • Left untreated, mental health disorders in children and adolescents lead to higher rates of suicide, violence, school dropout, family dysfunction, juvenile incarcerations, alcohol and other drug use, and unintentional injuries.
  • Schools can play a vital role in creating safe, nurturing school environments and providing care to students with emotional or behavioral problems. According to the School Health Policy and Programs Study of 2006, 77.9% of schools have a part-time or full-time guidance counselor, 61.4% have a part-time or full-time psychologist, and 41% percent have a part-time or full-time social worker.6

Participation in physical activity declines as children get older. 5 In 2009, 23% of 9th-12th graders did not participate in 60 minutes of any form of physical activity, while 47% of 9th graders and 22% of 12th graders attended physical education class daily. 5

  • Physical activity reduces the risk of premature mortality in general, and of coronary heart disease, hypertension, colon cancer, and diabetes mellitus in particular.6
  • Regular physical activity in childhood and adolescence improves strength and endurance, helps build healthy bones and muscles, helps control weight, reduces anxiety and stress, increases self-esteem, and may improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels.6
  • Positive experiences with physical activity at a young age help lay the basis for being regularly active throughout life.6

This information is from the CDC Healthy Youth! Adolescent Health Website.


References

1. Healthy Youth! Health Topics: Nutrition [Internet]. Atlanta, GA: Center for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (updated June 03, 2010). Available: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/yrbs/pdf/us_obesity_trend_yrbs.pdf. Accessed: June 2, 2011.

2. National Population Projections Released 2008 (Based on Census 2000): Table 12: Projections of the Population by Selected Age and Sex for the United States: 2010 to 2050 [Internet]. Washington, DC: United States Census Bureau. Available: http://www.census.gov/population/www/projections/files/nation/summary/np2008-t12.xls. Accessed: June 2, 2011.

3. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance—United States, 2005 [pdf 300K] Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report 2006;55(SS-5):1–108.

4. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Healthy Youth! Health Topics: Nutrition and health of young people. June 03, 2010. [Online]. Available: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/nutrition/facts.htm. Accessed: June 2, 2011.

5. Healthy Youth! Health Topics: Physical activity and the health of young people [Internet]. Atlanta, GA: Center for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (updated June 03, 2010). Available: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/physicalactivity/facts.htm. Accessed: June 2, 2011.

6. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Physical Activity and Health: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1996.
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