Maintaining Healthy Habits in Hard Times
As the U.S. braces for a second wave of coronavirus cases this fall against a backdrop of ongoing political and social unrest, many parents and children are understandably stressed.
“These challenging times are causing significant anxiety, depression, and psychological distress for families,” said Michelle Cardel, Ph.D., whose NIH-funded research focuses on developing an effective healthy lifestyle intervention for teenagers. “But there are things we all can do to improve our mental, physical, and emotional health right now.”
To help manage the stress, Cardel and pediatrician Lindsay Thompson, M.D., recommend that parents and children adopt many of the same eat-well, get-fit, feel-great strategies the researchers developed for teenagers and their families in a patient page published in JAMA Pediatrics last spring. This includes eating in a healthful manner, getting enough exercise, reducing screen-time—especially anxiety-inducing social media—and getting plenty of good quality sleep.