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Teens & Stress
By Erika Edwards
(NBC News) A new survey says teenagers are highly stressed out.
If they don't get it under control, experts warn teenage angst could lead to an unhealthy adulthood.
It's the pressures of school that seem to stress teenagers out the most.
"We need to take stress in teenagers very seriously," warns Dr. Norman Anderson.
Dr. Anderson is president of the American Psychological Association, which released the new survey revealing high stress levels among teens, especially during the school year.
"Those adolescents who report high levels of stress are also reporting high levels of anxiety, high levels of anger, high levels of irritability," he says.
These teens are not sleeping well and are trying to cope by eating junk food or skipping meals, and they're doing sedentary activities like watching T.V. and playing video games, the exact opposite of proven stress relievers.
"Teens said they that they felt that those more active activities - especially exercise - was a great way for them to manage stress. They just weren't doing it," Dr. Anderson notes.
Stressed-out, unhealthy teens often turn into stressed-out, unhealthy adults, and experts say that in the long term stress can lead to depression and increase the risk for chronic illnesses including heart disease, high blood pressure and Type II diabetes.
Experts say parents can help by talking to their kids about stress and model healthy coping mechanisms like exercise and eating a healthy diet.