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Loss Of Appetite In Teenagers: Causes & Remedies

Worried about the loss of appetite in teenagers? Teenagers often experience malnutrition. Adolescence brings about several changes in a teen’s body, mind, and social life, any one of which could lead to a loss of appetite. A temporary decrease in appetite is typically not serious. However, if a kid has persistent eating difficulties, it’s important not to discount the likelihood of a more serious health issue.

Poor dietary habits can lead to nutritional deficiencies, which in turn can contribute to several chronic health problems. Read on to learn more about adolescent lack of appetite, including the causes, treatment options, and more.

It is not uncommon for teens to lose interest in food momentarily. However, the following symptoms, including lack of appetite, might cause worry.

  • Consistent sadness accompanied by frequent tears
  • Irritability and intolerance
  • A lack of interest in previously enjoyable activities
  • Extreme fatigue
  • A lack of energy
  • Social isolation
  • Unusual secrecy regarding eating habits
  • Feelings of anxiety, upset, or guilt while eating.

Loss Of Appetite In Teenagers: Causes

Causes Of Loss Of Appetite In Teenagers

Many factors can contribute to a loss of appetite in teenagers. Some of the most common causes include:

1. Stress and Anxiety

Stress can hurt eating habits as early as the age of eight or nine. Teens can experience stress due to a variety of factors, including but not limited to peer pressure, the strain to keep up academically and athletically, learning impairments, issues at school, the death or loss of a loved one, parental divorce, or an unfavourable home environment.

2. Depression

Some teenagers can throw off significant amounts of pressure. Some young people may develop anxiety and sadness as a result of this. Anxious and depressed adolescents frequently report changes in their appetite. Sleep disturbances, disinterest in previously enjoyed activities, and withdrawal from friends and social circles are other common warning signs.

3. Eating Disorders

Anorexia nervosa and bulimia are on the rise in young people. Due to dietary deficits, these illnesses cause severe weight loss and malnutrition. People with eating disorders may engage in unhealthy behaviours, such as forcing themselves to vomit or using laxatives, to control their weight. Causes of these eating disorders may lie in the mind, such as low self-esteem, low confidence, or an “extreme desire to look slim.” The latter condition is more common among females.

4. Infections

Poor nutrition can be a transitory side effect of diseases like gastroenteritis or colitis that are caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. In these situations, the loss of appetite in teenagers is usually harmless, and eating normally returns after treatment has begun. If your adolescent’s appetite does not improve after the virus has been treated, you should see a doctor.

5. Chronic Health Conditions

Teens may experience a loss of appetite due to chronic health illnesses like Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, or hormonal conditions like Addison’s disease. Some teens may have a loss of appetite due to chronic health conditions such as food allergies, stomach difficulties, food intolerances, or sensitivities.

6. Medications Side Effects

Antibiotics and other medications frequently cause patients to lose their appetite. Medications may cause constipation or diarrhoea, which can lead to a loss of appetite in teenagers. Medication for illnesses like autism and ADHD might cause a person to lose or reduce their appetite.

7. Drugs or Alcohol

Substance abuse, as defined by the World Health Organisation, is the risky consumption of psychoactive substances. These include alcohol and illegal drugs. It is well-known that one of the side effects of using such medications regularly is a loss of appetite. Substance abuse in general contributes to the lack of appetite seen in such circumstances.

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How to Improve Appetite in Teenagers

How to Improve Appetite in Teenagers

A young person might avoid feeling overly burdened by food by sticking to modest but healthful servings. Vegetables may be less important than the carbohydrate and protein sections of the meal if your youngster is unable to eat them all. Don’t classify things as good or bad; everyone has different nutritional requirements. No food may be considered “bad.”

Here are some of the ways to improve appetite in teenagers;

1. Communication

Listen to your child and try to understand their worries. It will encourage them to confide in you about their problems. Do not delay in seeing a doctor or psychologist if your kid is still not opening up to you. The child’s diet may not improve unless the underlying problem is addressed.

2. Dietary Changes

Altering your diet may also help. Divide the three main meals into five or six smaller ones, and throw in some snacks, too, while you’re planning your diet. High-calorie, nutrient-rich foods, such as homemade fruit smoothies, protein drinks, and multigrain porridges or pancakes, could be an alternative to feed them. Make sure they are eating regularly and avoiding processed foods that are high in sugar and fat, such as soda and chips. In addition, it’s important to set a good example by eating meals together as a family. Give your teen the food he or she likes to eat.

3. Exercise

Exercise has been shown to increase hunger hormones in the brain. Calorie expenditure during exercise contributes to the physiological state of hunger. The production of endorphins, a type of feel-good hormone, may also aid in stimulating appetite. Exercising also has the added effect of making it easier to manage your depression. So, motivate your teen to get some physical activity. If kids complain that exercise is dull, encourage them to enjoy a game of their preferred outdoor sport instead.

4. Educate About Healthy Weight

Talk to the adolescent about the risks associated with not eating enough. Loss of appetite in teenagers due to eating disorders or self-imposed dietary limitations may benefit from this approach. Professionals that can advise your teen on healthy eating habits are an option for parents to consider. A youngster who is struggling with their weight should go to a counsellor so that they may learn the difference between a healthy weight and an ideal body weight.

5. Awareness About Health Risk

Some teens may use diet tablets to help them lose weight and control their appetite, but they should be aware of the potential risks involved. Loss of appetite in teenagers is just one of the many negative effects and health hazards that can result from using these products. Teens should be informed of the potential harms associated with these behaviours.

Due to hormonal and emotional shifts, a lot of teens lose their appetite at this time. In most cases, you won’t need to see a doctor about a short loss of appetite in teenagers. Teens who lose their appetite often struggle with low energy levels, mood swings, and other serious health problems. Altering eating habits, enhancing dialogue, and raising consciousness about the need for healthy eating are all strategies that have the potential to boost appetite and food consumption.

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