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As teens become more independent in their food choices, they tend to make the wrong

choices - even teens who were brought up eating healthy. Here are the four worst food
habits teens have and what you can do about them:

Skipping breakfast is the leading bad food habit for teenagers. According to the
American Dietetic Association, more than half of male teens and more than two-thirds
of female teens do not eat breakfast on a regular basis. Breakfast is the most important
meal of the day. Eating breakfast can upstart your teen’s metabolism, which helps with
weight control, mood and school performance.

You can ensure that your teen eats a healthy breakfast by making the foods readily
accessible to him. Make it a part of your routine to put breakfast on the table and sit
with your teen while you both enjoy a healthy breakfast. Or, if time is a problem, go for
the grab and eat on the way breakfasts that are now on the market.

The next unhealthy food habit teens have is increased foods from 'other' food
group. Think of the food pyramid, the 'other' food group is the smallest smallest section
at the top with what is supposed to be the least amount of servings. Teens tend to eat too
much high fat and calorie snack foods that are categorized in the 'other' food group.

You can help teens break this habit by having fruits and healthy snacks available more
often then having high fat and calorie snacks available. It is easier to grab a bag of chips
at the grocery store then picking up a bag of oranges and remembering to wash, quarter
and put them out on the table during snack time. But the benefits to your teen’s health
are worth the effort.

Increased eating outside of the home is another bad food habit teens have. Teens hit
the fast food restaurants much more often then they did when they were younger. This
tends to be because of school, sports and work schedules overlapping regular meal

To circumvent this bad habit, talk to your teen about only eating fast food once a week.
Then make dinner and healthy food available to him when he has the time. This is as
easy as fixing a plate for him and allowing him to heat it up when he gets home from his
sports practice. Or having sandwich fixings ready when he gets home from school and
has to run off to work.

Last, but not least, in this list of bad food habits is soft drink consumption. A study
looking at American youths aged 6-17 found an increase in the prevalence of soft drink
consumption from 37% in 1978 to 56% in 1998. You can help your teen choose a
healthier drink by having fruit juice and water available and not buying soda. Or try
fruit flavored carbonated water instead of soda. My teens really like these.

One common denominator for getting teens to eat healthier and avoid these bad food
habits is your active role in providing healthy foods. When you get in the habit of
making these foods more readily available to your teen, you will see a change in their
eating habits.
University of Minnesota School of Public Health researchers have found that older
adolescents who have a bedroom television are less likely to engage in healthy activities
such as exercising, eating fruits or vegetables, and enjoying family meals. They also
consumed larger quantities of sweetened beverages and fast food, were categorized as
heavy TV watchers, and read or studied less than teens without TVs in their bedrooms.

"The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents remove television sets
from their children's bedrooms. Despite this recommendation, almost two-thirds of our
sample had a bedroom TV, which appears to be a factor for less than optimal behavior,"
said Daheia Barr-Anderson, Ph.D., M.S.P.H., first author of the study.

A study group of 781 socioeconomically and ethnically diverse teens participating in the
School of Public Health Project Eating Among Teens (EAT) study reported on their
television viewing habits, study habits, grades, diet, exercise habits, and family
connectedness. Nearly two-thirds of the participants had a television in their bedroom or
sleeping area, and those who did watched four to five more hours of television each

Girls with a TV in their bedrooms spent less time in vigorous activity each week than
girls without TVs in their rooms (1.8 versus 2.5 hours). They also ate fewer vegetables
(1.7 versus 2 servings per day), and had fewer family meals (2.9 versus 3.7 meals per
week). Boys with TVs in their rooms not only had lower fruit intake (1.7 versus 2.2)
and fewer family meals (2.9 versus 3.6), they also had a lower grade point average
compared with their counterparts with no TVs in the bedroom (2.6 versus 2.9).

Barr-Anderson suggests that the first step parents can take to help their teens decrease
unhealthy behaviors is to keep, or remove, a TV from the bedroom of their teen. Dianne
Neumark-Sztainer, Ph.D., principal investigator of Project EAT notes, "Our findings
suggest the importance of not having a television in a child's bedroom. When families
upgrade their living room television, they may want to resist the temptation to put the
older television set in their children's bedroom."

This study was supported by a grant from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health
Resources and Services Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, and
by an Adolescent Health Protection Research Training grant from the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services.

The study, "Characteristics Associated With Older Adolescents Who Have a Television
in Their Bedrooms," will be published in the May edition of Pediatrics, the official
journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Families whose meals frequently consist of fast food are more likely to have unhealthy
eating habits, poor access to healthy foods at home, and a higher risk for obesity,
according to researchers at the University of Minnesota Medical School.

The study, published in the January 2007 issue of Public Health Nutrition, found that the
home food environment of families who ate fast food for dinner more than three times a
week consisted of more chips and soda pop and less fruits and vegetables than families
who ate fast food less than three times a week. A higher frequency of fast food dinners
was also associated with obesity and a higher body mass index (BMI) in adults.

"Fast food can be a convenient alternative to cooking for busy families," said Kerri
Boutelle, Ph.D., lead author and assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of
Minnesota Medical School. "But, frequently making fast food a family meal can
negatively affect food choices in the house and the overall health of the family."

The study is part of Project EAT: Eating Among Teens, a comprehensive study of
obesity and nutrition among adolescents in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area. It was
designed to examine the prevalence of fast food purchases for family meals and the
association between eating fast food for dinner and home food availability, dietary
intake, and weight status. Out of the 4,746 adolescents that completed surveys for
Project EAT, 902 were also selected to have their parents interviewed for this study.

Fifty-one percent of families surveyed reported eating fast food as a family meal one to
two times a week. Seven percent said they had fast food for dinner three to four times a

For teens and parents, higher frequency of fast food meals was associated with eating
significantly fewer fruits and vegetables and drinking less milk. More fast food around
the dinner table also meant pantry shelves were stocked with more salty snacks and
soda, creating poor access to healthy foods at home. Parents who ate fast food often
were more likely to be overweight than those who ate it less.

"There are other options for fast meals that can be prepared at home and contain healthy
foods, such as vegetables," said Boutelle. "Limiting fast food intake at home is one way
families can attempt to improve eating habits and the overall health of the family."
As they grow older, teenagers are spending more time in front of the computer and
television and less time participating in physical activities, according to researchers at
the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.

Research published in the journal Pediatrics found that moderate to vigorous physical
activity among teenage girls and boys dramatically decreased from early to late
adolescence. In addition, the findings showed that sedentary behaviors increased nearly
25-50 percent from 1999 to 2004.

"There is a disturbing shift in behavior as adolescents grow older," said Melissa Nelson,
Ph.D., lead author of the study and assistant professor of epidemiology and community
health at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. "The increase in
sedentary activities combined with the decrease in physical activity is thought to be
associated with increased risk for obesity."

Participation in physical activity among girls dropped from 5.9 to 4.9 hours a week
from early adolescence (ages 11-15) to midadolescence (ages 15-18). Even more drastic
was the drop from 5.1 to 3.5 hours a week in girls from mid to late adolescence (ages
18-23). Time spent on the computer for non-school related activities also increased from
8.8 to 12.5 hours a week from mid to late adolescence.

In contrast, boys showed a more delayed decline in physical activity starting in

midadolescence and dropping from 6.5 to 5.1 hours a week as they grew older. Leisure
time computer use increased substantially from early to midadolescence (from 11.4 to
15.2 hours a week) and mid to late adolescence (10.4 to 14.2 hours a week).
Researchers conducted a longitudinal study of more than 2,000 adolescents to examine
changes in eating patterns, weight, and physical activity over five years. Subjects
completed two surveys for Project EAT: Eating Among Teens - one in 1999 and one in
2004 - to determine if there were changes in physical activity patterns.
Teen Shopping Habits Revealed Just in
Time for the Holiday Season
«The holidays are approaching in a hurry. Halloween is just around the corner, and after that
comes Thanksgiving, the gateway to shopping season. During this year's holiday shopping,
season retailers are bound to pay attention to teen shopping habits. A recent study by Piper
Jaffray & Co. reveale

Teen Shopping Habits Revealed Just in Time for the Holiday Season
d what might be popular items that teens are looking for this holiday season based on their
spending habits. Some areas where teen spending has dropped might surprise you. The results of
this survey were released in a recent press release from Piper Jaffrey & Co.

The study was called "Taking Stock With Teens", and was conducted nationally investigating
teen spending habits and their perceptions of retail brands. The survey was conducted in 10
cities across the country and close to 980 students were used as subjects. The study analyzed
teens spending habits in areas such as fashion (brands and retailers), beauty and personal care
products, home furnishings, video games, digital entertainment and dining.

Hollister was the most popular place for teens to shop for the sixth consecutive time in the
fourteen times the biannual study has been conducted. This was followed by West Coast Brands
and American Eagle in the top three. Overall fashion spending was down though by 24 percent
when compared with the Spring study. According to the press release spending was down 18
percent for young women and nine percent for young men.

Interestingly, in the beauty product category spending was down for teens but up for their
parents according to the study results. They both have trended towards shopping at discount
stores when compared with previous preferences for department store shopping. Teens choices
among home furnishings are rather basic as might be expected. Their favorites are IKEA and
Pottery Barn/Pottery Barn Teen stores.