Encouraging healthy lifestyle habits

PDF download is not available for Arabic and Urdu languages at this time. Please use the browser print function instead

Exercising regularly, eating well and sleeping well are all important parts of proper JIA management. Learn how to encourage your teen to be healthy.

Key points

  • Encourage physical activity that requires your teen to walk, move around or stand instead of sitting or lying down.
  • Eating well is important for everyone, including teenagers with JIA as their medications may cause them to gain or lose weight.
  • Help your teen get a good night's sleep by setting a regular sleep schedule.

Help your teenager to have a healthy lifestyle by encouraging them to exercise regularly, eat properly and maintain healthy sleep habits. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is an important part of proper JIA management.

Exercising regularly

Your teenager may have had to stop participating in a physical activity that they once enjoyed. You can help your teenager find other activities that they can have fun with. Encourage physical activity that requires them to walk, move around or stand instead of sitting or lying down. This helps to exercise their joints and strengthen muscle tone. Your teenager may need to work gradually to increase their level of physical activity. Make sure to praise them for their efforts. You can also help by being active yourself and finding activities that you can both participate in. Setting aside ‘family time’ for physical activities can be fun. It can also help strengthen your bond with your teenager. Encourage everyone in your home to participate in activities. This way, your teenager won’t feel like they’re being singled out.

Eating properly

Your teenager needs to maintain a healthy diet. Eating well is important for everyone, including teenagers with JIA. Also, some teenagers with JIA have issues with weight loss or weight gain. For information on nutrition and JIA, please refer to Teen Sessions 8 and 11.

You can help everyone in your family eat healthy in a variety of ways:

  • set regular meal times
  • provide healthy diet choices for your teenager
  • praise your teenager for making good nutrition choices
  • eat meals together as a family.

Sleeping well

Getting a good night’s sleep can be difficult for some teenagers with JIA. To learn more about sleep and JIA, refer to Teen Sessions 3 and 11.

Here are some ways in which you can help everyone in your family sleep better:

  • set a regular sleep schedule
  • have your teenager get up at roughly the same time every day, including weekends
  • limit naps if your teenager is having difficulties with keeping a regular nighttime sleep schedule or with falling asleep easily at bedtime
  • provide space in the house, other than your teenager’s bedroom, for completing school work, reading and watching TV
  • allow for some relaxing, wind-down time before going to bed. Encourage your teenager to try some relaxation techniques, listening to music or reading before going to bed.
Last updated: January 31st 2017