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Youth4Health
Health advice and support for young people

DIET AND FITNESS

Eating a healthy, balanced diet is an important part of maintaining good health.

This means eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions, and consuming the right amount of food and drink to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.


The Eatwell Guide shows that to have a healthy, balanced diet, people should try to:

  • eat 5 A DAY
  • base meals on starchy foods like potatoes, bread, rice or pasta
  • have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks
  • eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other protein
  • choose unsaturated oils and spreads and eat in small amounts
  • drink plenty of fluids

If you're having foods and drinks that are high in fat, salt and sugar, have these less often and in small amounts.

Try to choose a variety of different foods from the five main food groups. Most people in the UK  eat and drink too many calories, too much fat, sugar and salt, and not enough fruit, vegetables, oily fish or fibre.


How much physical activity do I need to do to keep healthy?

To stay healthy or to improve health, young people need to do three types of physical activity each week: aerobic exercise and exercises to strengthen bones and muscles.

The amount of physical activity you need to do each week is determined by your age, you should try to do

  • at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day – this should range from moderate activity, such as cycling and playground activities, to vigorous activity, such as running and tennis
  • on three days a week, these activities should involve exercises for strong muscles, such as push-ups, and exercises for strong bones, such as jumping and running

Many vigorous activities can help you build strong muscles and bones, including anything involving running and jumping, such as gymnastics, martial arts and football.

Children and young people should reduce the time they spend sitting watching TV, playing computer games and travelling by car when they could walk or cycle instead.


Content provided by NHS Choices

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