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What Are you Eating?
     It has been reported that teenagers are eating less than their daily requirement of calories - however, along with adolescence comes a decline in activity levels - which may be an explanation for the increase in overweight teens.

     Teens generally classify their food as either "healthy" or "junk" food. "Healthy" foods, of which fresh fruit and vegetables are their most cited examples, are described as low in calories, sugar, fat, cholesterol, salt, additives, preservatives and artificial ingredients, and as sources of vitamins, minerals and proteins. "Junk" foods such as chocolate bars and potato chips are described as having the opposite profile, and are valued because they taste good and are convenient. Poor health is only one of several negative consequences of "junk" food consumption they name. More frequently mentioned are weight gain, acne, bad mood, laziness and cavities. "Junk" food is associated with snacks, friends, being away from home, independence and having fun. However, conflict is apparent as these foods also have the negative connotations of going off a diet, being out of control, overeating and feeling guilty. "Healthy" food is associated with family, home and meals, being on a diet, being concerned with weight and appearance, self-control and being good. Overall, girls' categorization of foods as "junk" or "healthy" appears to have more to do with social issues and concerns with weight and body image than with health issues.

     During adolescence, you body is undergoing tremendous changes. Your growth spurt now is second only to the changes in growth and development you experienced as a baby. This is a very critical time for maintaining healthy bones, muscle mass and lean body mass. In order for your body to grow and stay healthy, you need good fuel - and food is it! The best fuel for your body is the right selection of good food in a balanced quantity. Too hard, you say? It's not if you know how to choose your foods correctly.

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