Quick and Easy Ways to Improve Teen Health

AUGUSTA, Ga., April 6 (UPI) — Simple things like starting a walking program for teens or giving them pedometers can enhance teen health, a U.S. researcher says.

Dr. Vernon Barnes, a physiologist at the Medical College of Georgia’s Georgia Prevention Institute, says one study showed a drop in blood pressure of students in high-school-based walking program after 16 weeks compared with non-participating students.

Barnes, part of an adult team competing with a high-school team competing to see which group can walk the farthest, said a pedometer is an incentive to walk more.

“You think about it: that little extra walking will hopefully benefit your health,” Barnes says in a statement.

A second study finds a few minutes a day of meditation also pays dividends. A review of school records shows meditating teens miss fewer days and behave better, Barnes says.

“When you come to school with a stressed mind, you can’t do as well,” Barnes said. “The benefit of calming the mind is preparing it to learn.”

Barnes reports that after attending one dozen 50-minute classes on anger and anxiety, taught by health teachers, the teens showed reductions in anger and anxiety.

The three studies were presented at the American Psychosomatic Society annual meeting.

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