Healthy Teens Equal Smarter Teens

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
10/9/2012 2:00 PM   :  3 comments   :  8,888 Views

Whether you’re young or old, a balanced diet and regular exercise makes it much more likely that you’ll live a long, healthy life.  As if that wasn’t enough reason to get up off the couch, research has shown that the complications that come with an unhealthy lifestyle affect not only your body, but your mind, too.  Although most of us didn’t worry about these health affects when we were young (because we were invincible, right?), it’s never too early to be concerned.  Studies on adults have shown metabolic syndrome (a combination of medical disorders that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes) is associated with brain changes in adults.  New research shows the same effects on the teenage brain.
 
The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, compared two groups of teens.  One group had metabolic syndrome (which includes high blood levels of glucose, low levels of high-density lipoprotein, high triglycerides, abdominal obesity and high blood pressure), while the other group had less than three of these symptoms. Both groups were given brain scans and various tests of memory, cognition and attention. 
 
The researchers found that the teenagers with metabolic syndrome had lower scores on tests of mental ability and significantly lower academic performance in reading and arithmetic. The scientists were surprised to discover that the M.R.I. scans showed brain changes in children with metabolic syndrome, including reduced volume in the hippocampus, a part of the brain believed to be involved in memory formation and storage.”
 
While these results are disturbing, all is not lost because these brain changes are reversible.  Does it take lots of expensive medicine or complicated medical procedures?  Nope.  What it takes (in most cases) is a healthy diet and regular exercise.  No matter the age, the typical prescription for those with metabolic syndrome is diet and exercise.  Although it’s not a “cure-all” for every disease, taking good care of yourself can help reverse the negative effects of an unhealthy lifestyle.  The sooner we learn that lesson, the sooner we can pass it on to our children so that they don’t repeat the same mistakes.
 
Is there a teen in your life who could benefit from information about good health, and get support from other teens to reach their health and/or weight loss goals?  Check out SparkTeens, our program for 13 to17 year olds.
 
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Comments

  • 3
    Of course the teens with metabolic syndromes didn't do as well. Metabolic disorders cause fatigue and brain fog. These disorders are genetic. Even if you lead a healthy lifestyle, you can still develop these issues. Some of these studies are ridiculous! How about comparing teens who have live a healthy lifestyle to those who don't? What about comparing people who have metabolic disorders but lead healthy lives to those with metabolic disorders who don't?

    - 10/10/2012   4:44:03 AM
  • 2
    Thanks. - 10/10/2012   12:46:41 AM
  • 1
    My DD just turned 22 and she belonged to Spark Teens when she first joined about five years ago. Even after having a baby, she is at 145# and 5'9" so I'm really happy for her. She's doing the "INSANITY" work out and going to college where she does LOTS of walking between buildings since the campus is spread out. - 10/9/2012   2:20:35 PM

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