Teens Eating Healthier; May Bode Well for Future Cancer Risk

American teens are eating slightly more fruits and vegetables and fewer sweets, while upping their activity, according to a new study that offers a glimmer of positive findings for improvements among adolescent’s health.canstockphoto14620946

The study, published in Pediatrics, focused on adolescent’s eating and other lifestyle habits. Like adults, there are numerous health reasons for teens to eat well and exercise. What is less well known is the growing body of research suggesting that diet, activity and weight as teenagers – when the body is developing – may play a role in cancer risk decades later.

In this study, researchers asked three different groups of 6th through 10th graders about their eating and exercise habits over eight years. The first group — about 15,000 students – answered the survey questions during the 2001-2002 school year. Four years later a second group of students answered the same questions; and four years later the third group. All the groups were representative of US adolescents nationwide.

Throughout the study period, all the teens were getting less than the recommended 60 minutes of activity fewer than five days a week. But the latest group of teens came slightly closer to getting the recommended amount of activity closer to five days a week compared to the students eight years earlier. Continue reading