Teen Talks set to focus on health and wellbeing

Ahead of the Teen Talks series which gets underway in Cork this week, Niall O'Callaghan, Healthy Ireland Co-ordinator, Cork County Council, tells us about the need for young people to mind their health, wellbeing, nutrition and mental health
Teen Talks set to focus on health and wellbeing
Pat Divilly, Irish Fitness Expert, Author and Entrepreneur; Anna Geary, Wellbeing / Lifestyle Coach and broadcaster, with Niall O'Callaghan, Health Ireland co-ordinator at Cork County Council (back centre); Derval O'Rourke, Fitness and Nutrition personality and author; Graham McCormack, former MMA Fighter and Mental Health Speaker along with students Dylan Roberts and Conall Boyle, Bandon Grammar School; Abby O'Callaghan and Nichola O'Shea, Colaiste Choilm, Ballincollig at Cork County Hall for the launch of the Teen Talk. Pic: Brian Lougheed

A NUMBER of events are set to take place in Cork county, aimed at Transition Years Students.

The events are an expansion on the major success a similar event last year, are called TEEN TALKs and are coordinated by Cork County Council in association with the Local Community Development Committee (LCDC) and funded by Healthy Ireland through Pobal.

As we know from current studies, lifestyle has a large part to play in determining the state of our health. This is a factor throughout life, not just in teenage years.

In the present day, we are dealing with ever growing levels of obesity, diabetes, depression and anxiety and many other conditions. The lifestyle choices we make every day determine if these issues are going to play a part in our lives. We know from research that healthier, happier people are healthier and happier because they eat well, move their bodies and look after their personal health and wellbeing.

School has a tendency to focus on academic education, concentrating on getting high scores in English, Irish, Maths etc., to qualify students to progress into 3 rd level academic education. Transition year gives students an opportunity to explore a number of different areas which are key to the overall development of the student.

It is such a necessity for all students to learn about their own health and wellbeing.

But we are being given an opportunity here with transition year students to pass on some greatly needed information about Nutrition, Fitness and Wellbeing through our Teen Talks which will be promoting positive habits in Nutrition, Health and Wellbeing and especially Mental Health.

Giving transition year students a good fun experience and encouragement to take charge of their own health and wellbeing is something that may lead to greater health throughout their adulthood. For many of us, we tend to go along with whatever is happening and don’t really take control of our lives until we hit a low patch or until it’s too late. Taking control of your lifestyle choices is one of the best decisions to make, and the earlier it’s made, the better.

It is widely known that good nutrition is key for so many things such as weight management, mood management, performance levels and energy levels. The power of good nutrition is often underestimated by most so it would be great for these teens to gather an awareness of the power of nutrition. They need this now to help them in the final years of school to help them progress to their ambitions after Leaving Cert.

Exercise is another area where we are, as a nation, going in the wrong direction. Today, approximately half of the nation is not getting enough exercise to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This, along with poor nutritional choices, is leading us to be the fattest nation in Europe in the next 10 years.

We have become a very sedentary society and have lost most of our natural movements. These natural movements such as walking and playing are a key element in is maintaining our health. In either case, it’s important for the next generation to become aware that they need to take a different path than their predecessors in order to keep the nation healthy. It’s a win-win situation though for anyone who stays active, as we know how exercise makes us feel better through an increase in endorphins and increase in serotonin.

The most important piece of the puzzle however, is our mindset. We know that anxiety and depression are on the rise. Help is at hand however, as there is also an increasing awareness of the need to take time out for ourselves each day to calm the mind and get some mental recovery as part of a mental health strategy. This is a message that needs to be given to our teens also to equip them for future years.

The Teen Talks will take place in Charleville Park Hotel onThursday February 28, the Radisson Hotel in Little Island on Tuesday March 5 and in the West Lodge Hotel in Bantry on Thursday March 7 .

These events include a host of fantastic array of speakers, including Kathryn Thomas of RTÉ and Operation Transformation, Anna Geary of Irelands Fittest Family, Derval O’Rourke; former World Champion Athlete, Pat Divilly; Mindset Guru and Author and Graham McCormack; Mental Health Advocate and Mindfulness Coach.

Each of the speakers will share their own experiences and what they have learned through their careers. It will be great positiveand fun experience for the students, one where they can pick up some great advice to enhance their health and wellbeing in the short term and throughout their lives.

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