Healthy Habits to Battle Teenage Risky Behaviors

A Happy, Healthy Teen

In today’s generation, the battle against teenage drinking, smoking, and other risky behaviors is an ongoing struggle. Parents, siblings, teachers and friends are often forced to handle situations far beyond their means.

Sometimes the behavior is less extreme, however. It begins as a small funk; a general loss of motivation, moodiness, fatigue… It is important to notice these signs early, even if there seems to be little risk to his or her long-term health.

The best way to battle negative or dangerous behaviors is by doing so long before the problem arises, by instilling a sincere interest in healthy habits. University of Essex studies have shown that teens who maintain a healthy diet and some sort of exercise routine are happier, and less likely to slide into some of the more dangerous habits.

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To clarify, maintaining a healthy diet does not mean maintaining a narrow waistline. Media today portrays healthy foods and exercise routines as a means to look your best. While this is certainly the end result, a proper, balanced diet does much more for the body and mind. Foods rich in vitamins, minerals and natural sugars, such as fruit and vegetables, leave the body feeling more energized, alert and clean. Apples and other fruits are also great sources for positive energy, and the saying ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ was not said in jest. Leafy, dark green vegetables provide the body with iron, vitamin B-12 and many other important nutrients. Fibers cleanse the digestive system, citrus are rich in Vitamin C, bananas improve muscle health, etc.

By combining a love of a balanced diet and the feeling it gives the body with physical activity, you strengthen not only the physical side of your teen, but the emotional as well. Don’t force your child to run every day. Find an activity that he or she enjoys; a sport, a dance class… Exercise routines vary from Zumba to yoga, to aerobics, swimming, basketball, Pilates, soccer, martial arts, bike riding and even just jumping rope in the back yard. The physical activity will do wonders for your child’s health. It will improve his or her self-image, self-respect, self-confidence, competitiveness, focus and personal discipline, as well as boost his or her general mood by releasing endorphins, or ‘happy hormones.’ Of course, the benefits to the body are incomparable as well.

A healthy, confident, happy person, be it a child, teen or adult, is more likely to pursue his or her interests, cope with stress and make mature decisions without dabbling in more dangerous behaviors such as under aged or irresponsible drinking, smoking, or drug abuse.

The Real Tragedy of Whitney Houston’s Death

As the world reels from the tragic death of Whitney Houston, I can’t help but wonder how many people truly care.

Every day is filled with tributes, memorial speeches, mournful comments and ‘I Will Always Love You’ playing eerily on the radio, and I question how much of it is real, or even right. People lament the tragedy of a talent lost, the sad story of a woman who, though she had everything anyone could dream of, still sought to escape from reality, and from herself. Of course, the story is heartbreaking and I respect both her talent and her character, but…

Is it not tragic that a thirteen year old, whose life has barely begun, would take his or her own life? Is it not sad that hundreds of adolescents dabble in the dangers of illegal substances, often meeting a similar end before starting high school? I think that reality is more tragic then the loss of a single grown woman, regardless of how gifted and wonderful she may have been.

The entertainment industry has proven to be a hard one to survive in. I am not judging, but once you’re in the spotlight, surely you have a certain amount of responsibility towards both your audience and yourself?

Substance abuse is an issue that must be dealt with. A real intervention throughout the U.S. is long overdue. How many people have died or destroyed their lives in this way? How many, be they gifted or anonymous, criminals, angels, or children? And at her tributes her loved ones weep, sharing memories and showing the pain of her loss. Why, then, did she die? Where were her loved ones as she struggled with her addiction for over two decades?
She was fortunate enough to have so many people know her, love her and be so involved in her life. Unlike many other addicts, she had hundreds of people who should’ve done everything they could to help her.

I have a hard time buying into the global mourning, too. Those who didn’t know her and never met her stand around me crying as if their hearts are truly broken, and I can’t help but find it rather phony. Undoubtedly the funeral and the tributes are tragically beautiful, haunting, even, as the lyrics of her song fit the scenario in a way that no one could have foreshadowed, and the emotion of it all left even me feeling a bit weepy at some points. But still, we never met her, and we don’t cry this much when innocents die in car accidents, or when children are abused by their own parents.
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Though his comments were particularly harsh, I respect Bill O’Reilly’s opinion. He said: “I don’t believe anyone is a slave to addiction. I believe it’s a disease, a mental disease, but you have a free will and you can get through the disease, as millions of people have chosen to do it.”

“You don’t have free will when you have lung cancer. You do have free will when you’re a crack addict,” he said. He continued, reprimanding America (and rightly so) for “looking the other way on Whitney Houston.”

He asked why a celebrity-voiced public announcement was never released, warning teens not to follow Houston’s, or other celebrities’ like Amy Winehouse or Janis Joplin’s, examples. “Everybody knew she was a drug addict for two decades.”

O’Reilly added that the media is supposed to be “in the business of telling the truth, and the truth is if you get into hard drugs you can go at any time.”

Watch the latest video of the funeral at