WANT EVEN MORE HEALTHY IDEAS FROM SHAPE YOUR FUTURE?
According to the CDC, 1 in 5 adolescents have prediabetes in the U.S., and 43% of children and adolescents with obesity have at least one abnormal lipid level, both leading to cardiovascular disease. Shape Your Future and the TSET Healthy Youth Initiative, both programs of the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET), provide free resources and information to help Oklahomans eat better and create healthier lifestyles. Teaching Oklahoma youth how to make healthy choices early on can help reduce the state’s high rate of childhood obesity and increase their chances for brighter, longer lives.
“Healthy eating is an important part of maintaining overall health for everyone,” said Dr. Ashley Weedn, a pediatrician. Weedn is assistant professor and director of the Healthy Future Clinic in Oklahoma City, working with Oklahoma families to help their teens and adolescents eat healthier and prevent disease. “Keep in mind that even making one healthy habit change, such as limiting sugary beverages, can improve health.”
Added sugars in our diet from sugar-sweetened beverages and processed foods lead to increased appetite, weight gain and long-term health problems, including diabetes, fatty liver disease and heart disease. Water is important for hydration, and low-fat, non-flavored milk provides calcium for strong bones, protein to fuel our bodies and Vitamin D. “If you’re drinking several servings of sugary drinks daily, then aim to decrease to one serving per day, then one per week,” Weedn said. To that point, Weedn said she finds families are most successful when they do not bring sugary beverages into the home at all.
Fruits and vegetables provide fiber, vitamins and minerals. These foods provide essential nutrients for our bodies, help us achieve appropriate portions and decrease hunger. Eating three meals a day is important for your body’s metabolism. Skipping meals can lead to overeating, weight gain, and health problems. Weedn encourages youths to begin taking care of their bodies as early as possible.
“Set realistic goals that you can accomplish as a family and encourage each other along the way,” Weedn said. “Your pediatrician can work with you and also refer you to a dietitian to help you meet your goals.”
 A lipid is a type of molecule found in the body that is oily or waxy. Fats are made from lipids.