Teens are holding a bad hand. Not only have they inherited a climate crisis, but the health of the planet isn’t the only thing at risk. In fact, the current generation of young people is on track to be less healthy and live shorter lives than their parents. By age 10, nearly all kids already have fatty streaks in their arteries, which is the first sign of atherosclerosis, the leading cause of death in the United States. And, what was once known as “adult-onset diabetes” is now referred to as “type 2 diabetes.” Why? Because grown-ups aren’t the only ones to get it these days. The disease is now found in children, too. While it’s hard to hear and even harder to believe, more and more children and teens are experiencing long-term, chronic, and reoccurring diseases. Is this every teen’s fate? Are they inevitable, or can they be prevented?
The fact that many chronic diseases, once thought to only affect adults, have been increasing in prevalence in adolescents, is alarming. Many of these diseases also happen to be preventable, though preventing disease is only the start of the benefits lifestyle medicine offers. Practicing lifestyle medicine principles, such as participating in physical activity, eating mostly whole, plant-based foods, and minimizing stress, can positively influence mental well-being, academic performance, and even athletic performance!
The Teen Lifestyle Medicine Handbook: The Power of Healthy Living was written for teens to not only educate them in lifestyle medicine principles, but more so to give them the practical tools and skills needed to implement these principles. The content provided in this book offers evidence-based information and is delivered in a way that will be thought-provoking and catalyze changes in health behaviors. There is not only a focus on the delivery of information but also a strong emphasis on practical applications that can be immediately applied. This timely book is accessible to a wide range of readers, whether they have a strong background in lifestyle medicine or not. The health and well-being of children everywhere are of the utmost importance, and this book spearheads the education of lifestyle medicine for teens.
Adolescence is often a challenging time, and the six pillars of lifestyle medicine can really help to ease any pain teens might experience during this period and enhance their joy of life. By reaching teenagers, lifestyle medicine advocates are able to help set a course for self-care and optimal well-being for a lifetime. Furthermore, by encouraging teachers, students, parents, grandparents, pediatricians, and others that care for teenagers to read the book, a village of knowledgeable people will be created to help empower these adolescents and future leaders to live a healthy lifestyle and elicit their full potential.
A person’s greatest wealth is health—optimal health. In that regard, The Teen Lifestyle Medicine Handbook represents a powerful investment every teen can make in their “health bank account.” The time to start investing is right now, because the dividends they will reap throughout their lifetime are immeasurable.