Finding a healthy balance

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Morgan Johnson ’17

Pop culture’s magazines, websites, and books try to dictate the healthy diet for the average American, but often these eating habits do not apply to everyone. Instead, each individual must find a balanced regimen of healthy eating and activity that is right for them according to choosemyplate.gov 
Convent of the Sacred Heart School Nurse Mrs. Mary Walsh stresses the importance of Sacred Heart students catering their diets to their bodies.
“It’s a very important thing for girls to understand that everyone is different and their bodies are different,” Nurse Walsh said. “Their bodies are gifts from God and they should nurture it and care for it. We’re all beautiful but different.”
Consuming carbohydrates, fats, and protein as well as vitamins and minerals are important to stay healthy, according to bonfirehealth.com. They are fundamental to a balanced diet but vary for each person’s metabolism, age, and activeness. Kidshealth.org recommends that children and teenagers who are still growing should have more fats in their diets than adults do, because their brains are still developing.
Nurse Walsh is also aware that a healthy diet varies for different age groups.
“Children and young people need proper nutrition and calories for growth and development,” Mrs. Walsh said. “Calcium helps build bone, fat helps with absorption of vitamins, protein builds muscles etc.”

Morgan Johnson '17
Morgan Johnson ’17

In 2011, the United States Department of Agriculture Center for Nutrition Policy Promotion and Protection created MyPlatea guide that represents the types of food a person should eat to establish a well-rounded way of eating. Still, there is no set quantity for how much fruit, vegetables, grain, protein, and dairy any particular person needs. Everyone has specialized requirements for eating and the standards for well-balanced meals must meet these needs according to , according to mayoclinic.org
Factors that influence a person’s healthy eating habits include allergies and how people’s bodies respond to different types of food. For example, a student who is vegetarian can increase her intake in other protein items such as beans and milk and those who are lactose intolerant can receive carbohydrates and fats from other sources, according to kidswithfoodallergies.org.
Many people view calorie consumption as detrimental to their weight loss goals. According to livestrong.com, however, calories are a measure of energy. People need energy in order to sustain themselves and if eaten in the correct way, calories can benefit the consumer.
One important factor in the number of calories and food a person needs is the time he or she spends physically active each day, according to webmd.com. For example, a girl who swims for two hours after school everyday will need to eat more food in order to power her activity. A proper diet will fuel a student’s specific lifestyle and can enhance athletic performance.
Exercise and being active each day is also crucial to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The suggested amount of physical activity each day for teenagers is one hour, according to safeteens.org.
“It doesn’t have to be just a sport. It could be when you get home from school to just go out and kick a ball around or go out and play with your friends. You can even go out in the snow and do some activity. Just keep active and do what you love to do,” MrsWalsh said.
Getting enough physical activity each day has a plethora of benefits. Exercise helps maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of certain diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease, according to healthdiscovery.net.
“A lot of the girls at Sacred Heart are involved in so many different sports and activities,” sophomore Katherine Sepulveda said. “We all need the right food to fuel our bodies and support our busy schedules.”
-Morgan Johnson, Staff Writer