Young people are going through many changes at this point in their lives physically, emotionally and psychologically. Adolescents have high nutrient needs to support their rapid growth and development. But the transition from Primary school to Secondary school can also bring a lot of changes to eating behaviours.
Healthy eating may not always seem like the easy or preferred option. And as teens get busier and busier with school, part time jobs, relationships and other activities; nutrition and food may not be at the top of their priorities.
However, the implications of a poor diet will catch up on teens.
Current research shows that the average Irish teenager is deficient in several crucial micronutrients including vitamin D, iron, folate and fibre.
It also suggests that Irish Teenagers are not meeting their recommended daily intake of fruit and vegetables. Furthermore the analysis found that most of the energy intake of
an average teenager comes from foods that are high in sugar and salt and low in micronutrients and fibre. This includes junk foods such as cakes, chocolate,
biscuits, crisps, fast food and soft drinks.
Regular intakes of these junk foods can lead to:
Increased risk of High Blood Pressure and Heart disease
Risk of becoming obese, now or later in life
Cancers related to excess fat and sugar consumption
More likely to develop diabetes in later life
Unhealthy eating habits have a significant correlation with bodyweight.
1 in 5 teenagers are overweight or obese in Ireland.
Yet, in 2014 nearly 14% of all admissions for under 18s to Irish psychiatric
units and hospitals were primarily due to eating disorders and this is
continuing to rise (Health Research Board, 2014).
Thus it is pivotal to create a Healthy balanced relationship with food especially
in young people as these habits often depict health and eating patterns as an adult.
Popular Secondary Level Topics include:
+ Brain Food
+ Mental Health and Positivity
+ Sports Nutrition and Activity
+ The Importance of Breakfast
+ Prepare, Cook and Eat
+ Food Safety and Hygiene
This is NOT an exhaustive list.
Each session is tailored to the needs and wants of the particular school.
Schools can suggest their own topics to be covered.
Testimonials from Secondary School Students:
"Amazing, opened my eyes to unhealthy things"
"Examples and experiments good to break down what actually happens!"
"It was shocking to find out how much sugar we eat each day"
"Very informative and everybody was encouraged to join"
“I liked how you related it to sport. I would like more sessions on sport”
“Great visual presentation"
"Great speaker, very knowledgeable"
"The talk was very interesting and I learned a good few new things"
"I didn't know there was as many foods with sugar in them"
"Great presentation, really interesting and very engaging"
"Come back and do more, cheers"