Obesity among adolescents has increased since the dawn of the 21st century, but one way a 17-year-old can avoid weight-related health risks is to eat a balanced diet. Although regular exercise also contributes to a teen's overall health, making nutritious dietary choices and keeping consumption of unhealthy drinks and foods to a minimum can improve your teen's well-being.
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In general, a 17-year-old should eat a diet based around whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products and lean proteins such as fish, beans and poultry. The specific caloric intake for this age group varies according to factors such as a teen's level of physical activity, but females should have 1,800 to 2,400 calories daily, while males should have 2,000 to 3,200 calories daily. Teens should also aim to reduce their intake of foods that are high in sodium, sugar and saturated and trans fats. In addition, teens need to get at least an hour of exercise per day, coupled with a healthy diet.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Childhood Obesity Facts
- Weight-Control Information Network: A Guide for Teenagers: Take Control of Your Health
- Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion: Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
- TeensHealth: Food & Fitness