Between homework, tests and maintaining a social life, it can be difficult for students to find time to maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, poor health can quickly lead to stress, self-esteem issues, poor mood, illness and fatigue. You can help your student stay healthy throughout all of his high school years in a variety of ways.
Your student should eat as healthy as possible, aiming for at least four servings of fruit and five servings of vegetables every day. Encourage her to choose whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean sources of protein, such as turkey, instead of full-fat foods. Show her how to pay attention to proper portion sizes. Stock up on healthy foods such as low-fat yogurt, carrot sticks and apples so that a healthy snack is always available when your student gets hungry.
Students ages 6 through 17 should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Students 18 and over should aim for approximately 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic activity every week. Encourage your child to burn some calories by walking or riding his bike to class instead of taking the bus or getting a ride. He can also stay active by signing up for a sport or going to the school’s gym facilities in between or before classes.
Help your child manage stress by assisting her in creating daily habits or a pattern that will make her day run smoother and help alleviate stress. For example, have her keep all of her everyday things like ID-cards, school books and keys in one designated place. Teach her not to procrastinate about anything. The pressure of time can heavily contribute to stress. Encourage your student to ask for help when she needs it, whether it is with school work or an issue with a friend.
Tips and Safety
Although schedules can be hectic, your student should get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. Sleep deprivation can affect all aspects of your child’s life, including academics and relationships. A lack of sleep can also lower the immune system and make your child more susceptible to illness. Don’t skip breakfast, as it fuels your child’s body and helps give him energy for the school day ahead. Encourage your child to make eating healthy and exercising fun. For example, he can find a sport or activity that he enjoys doing, or he can eat or exercise with a friend to make the experience more enjoyable.
- CBN: Healthy Living on Campus: How College Students Can Stay Fit
- Rutgers: 101 Health and Wellness Tips for College Students
- ChooseMyPlate: How Much Physical Activity is Needed?
- Circulation: Prospective Study of Breakfast Eating and Incident Coronary Heart Disease in a Cohort of Male US Health Professionals
- US National Library of Medicine: Sleep and Immune Function
- PBS: Test Stress: Keeping a Healthy Body and Mind