Teenage is the transient phase of development of a child to a fully grown adult. It is marked by physical, psychological, emotional and hormonal changes. There is a marked improvement in abstract thinking, deductive reasoning, and risk-taking tendency at this age.
The WHO is very keen on improving teenage health in its programs for universal health coverage. A survey in 2012 showed that about 1.3 million teenagers died mostly from preventable or treatable causes. Road accidents, HIV, suicide, lower respiratory tract infections, diarrhoea, meningitis and epilepsy top the list for mortality among teenagers. Other common health issues that had to be addressed were depression, anaemia, back and neck pain, asthma and anxiety disorders.
A healthy and balanced diet is mandatory during teenage not only to meet the increased nutritional demands but also to prevent malnutrition and obesity. The daily intake in teenage boys should be 2800 calories and for girls 2200 calories approximately. Drinking plenty of water and fruit juices instead of caffeinated drinks and soda also promote better health and leave the skin glowing, adding to their self esteem.
Physical activity should be encouraged among teenagers as it improves fitness and also produces endorphins which improves mood. Teenagers are advised about 60 minutes of workout daily.
Teenagers are also increasingly vulnerable to substance abuse like alcohol, cigarette smoking and marijuana. But with proper care and strict supervision from parents and mentors, the extra energy and inquisitiveness in teenagers can be curbed into fruitful activities like improving life skills, arts and sports.
Teenagers should be given an orientation into the daily and seasonal regimens mentioned in Ayurveda. The moral values mentioned in sadvrtta can be taught at an early age to bring them up as responsible adults and also to instil righteousness and prevent violence and antisocial tendencies. Rasayana drugs can be used to enhance better cognitive development, improve mental and reproductive health in teenagers.
Primary healthcare in teenagers must be responsibly handled by health workers because they contribute to the prosperity and infrastructure of the society thereby to the development of the nation.
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