Teens running on empty

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Jackson Browne may have done it, River Phoenix may have done it, today’s teenagers are definitely doing it – running on empty.

A new survey shows that a third of all 16-year-olds go for six hours between lunch and dinner without eating – and that’s leaving them without energy for after-school activities.

The survey also reveals

- 24 per cent of teens don’t have energy for after-school clubs

- 40 per cent feel under pressure to perform in and out of school

- 40 per cent of 16 year olds feel the pressure to do well at school and in after-school activities

- 26 per cent of parents would like their children to be more active

- 24 per cent of hungry teens would reach for pre-packaged snacks if they needed extra energy

- 14 per cent admit they don’t know the best foods to keep energy levels sustained.

Nutritional snacking is high on any parent’s agenda, though they don’t always have involvement in their children’s choice of snacks. 47 per cent give their teens the freedom to choose their own snacks, yet 60 per cent don’t agree with their food choices.

Sun-Pat, who carried out the study, is now highlighting the importance of maintaining teenagers’ energy levels by launching a fun and sporty competition. Ten winning sports teams will receive £1000 vouchers towards new sports kit or equipment, with one lucky team getting to meet Olympian long jumper Greg Rutherford.

Each winner will also receive a year’s supply of delicious Sun-Pat peanut butter to keep the good energy flowing.

Nutritionist Dr. Sarah Schenker comments: “In real terms, it’s not so much that teenagers lack the energy but that they misread the signs telling them they are hungry. For teenagers with an active lifestyle and restricted traditional mealtimes, embracing the after-school snacking occasion could be the perfect solution to keep energy levels maintained.”