Impact of Lifestyle on Health
1 I don’t have to worry
about my health
because I’m young. Adults are more likely
to die of heart attacks
than teenagers. One third of teenagers
already have risk factors
for heart disease, like
poor fitness, high
cholesterol, high blood
pressure, and obesity. What things do
teenagers do now that
affect their health when
they are older?
Can you have unhealthy
habits and still be
healthy? 2 I can eat whatever I
want as long as I
exercise. You can maintain your
weight if you burn off
extra calories by doing
exercise. You still have to watch
what you eat. Most
people don’t know how
much they have to
exercise to burn off
For example, a 150-lb.
person has to walk for 1
hour to burn the calories
in a candy bar. How do teenagers
decide what to eat?
How do teenagers
decide how much
exercise they need? 3 Stress can seriously
affect my health. Being stressed makes
you more likely to get
sick and makes it
harder for your body to
For example,
teenagers with
constant stress have
higher blood pressure,
which may lead to
heart disease. Managing stress well can
reduce its negative
effects on your health.
For example, teenagers
who meditate for 10-20
minutes per day have
lower blood pressure and
heart rate. What happens to
teenagers’ bodies when
they get stressed?
Does stress affect your
heart? 4 Eating a doughnut for
breakfast is better
than skipping
breakfast. Skipping breakfast can
lead to obesity
because people tend
to overeat at the next
meal and make poor
food choices when
hungry. Eating food high in sugar
or carbohydrates, like
doughnuts, can lead to a
preference for sweets
that results in weight
problems. How does skipping
breakfast affect the rest
of the day?
Why does it matter what
you eat for breakfast? 5 Restaurants serve
more food than I need
to eat in one meal. Most restaurant
portions are 2 to 8
times bigger than
recommended serving
sizes. Sometimes it is OK to eat
a large meal as long as
you watch what you eat
the rest of the day What is a healthy
amount of food to eat at
one time?
How do teenagers know
when they have had
enough to eat? 6 It’s hard to eat
healthy. It takes more time to
prepare healthy food at
home than to order
fast food, which is
often high in fat and
salt. Teenagers can easily
make healthy choices,
like drinking water
instead of soda, eating
more fruit and
vegetables, and
controlling their portion
sizes. What does it mean to
eat healthy?
How can teenagers
make healthy food
choices away from
home? 7 Only big lifestyle
changes can improve
heart health for
teenagers. A big change, like
running for 1 hour
every day, will lower
weight. A small change, like
cutting out a can of
regular soda a day, will
lower your weight by
almost 15 pounds a year
and lower your risk of
heart disease. What is an example of a
specific change
teenagers could make
to be healthier? 8 It is only worth
exercising if you do it
for at least 30 minutes
at time. Sports and aerobic
exercise classes
usually last longer than
30 minutes. Exercising for 10
minutes, 3 times a day, is
as good as exercising for
30 minutes at a time. What is the minimum
amount of time that
teenagers should
exercise at one time to
be heart healthy? 9 Computers, TVs, and
cell phones make it
easy to be unhealthy. Activities, like watching
TV, social networking,
and playing video
games, leave less time
for a healthy, active
lifestyle. Playing the Wii™,
exercising to videos, and
listening to mp3 players
during workouts help
people to be active. How do electronic
gadgets influence
physical activity and
diet? 10 My lifestyle habits are
not as important to
my health as my
family history of heart
disease. Teenagers who have a
family history of heart
disease, diabetes, or
high blood pressure
have a higher risk of
developing heart
disease. Lifestyle habits, like
eating fast food and
being inactive, increase
risk of diabetes, high
blood pressure, and
heart disease for
everyone. What lifestyle habits
affect teenagers’
How does family history
affect teenagers’
health? 11 Teenagers eat more
when stressed, bored,
or watching TV. Television is a
distraction. Teenagers
often overeat when
they are distracted. Some teenagers eat less
or skip meals when they
are stressed or in a bad
mood. How do your eating
habits change when you
are stressed, bored, or
watching TV? 12 It is better to eat six
small meals per day
than three large
meals. Eating several small
meals a day controls
hunger, maintains
energy, and helps
teenagers to stay
active. Even small meals can be
high in calories, and
teenagers are likely to
overeat if they are eating
several times a day. How often do teenagers
usually eat?

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