Teens’ emotional and physical needs differ from those of adults and children. Our adolescent medicine expert provides helpful tips for young adults to stay healthy.
As we age, we tend to start thinking more about our health and how our choices affect our personal well-being. However, the teenage years are also an important time to focus on health. Dr. Karen Browner-Elhanan, Adolescent Medicine, Renown Medical Group – Pediatrics, offers some tips on how you can help the young adults in your life stay healthy.
What are some tips for young adults to stay healthy?
Health encompasses our physical, mental, emotional and behavioral well-being. While we all should do what we can to stay healthy, there are some things teens should pay special attention to. Help ensure the adolescents in your life have the following:
- Regular exercise: Aim for 60 minutes of physical activity daily.
- Healthy diet: Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein and low-fat dairy items help contribute to growth and development.
- Healthy weight: Children and teens with obesity are more likely to be obese as an adult, also putting them at high risk for chronic illnesses and depression.
- Adequate sleep: Most teens need between nine and nine-and-a-half hours of sleep every night, though many only average around seven. Sleep contributes to better concentration and performance in schools.
- Vaccinations: Keep up with vaccinations such as the flu shot and HPV vaccine.
- Stress management: No one can avoid stress, so it’s important to learn healthy ways to manage it.
What are some things young adults should consider when thinking about their health?
Speak with your teen about the following to help them understand the importance of healthy choices:
- Will the choices I make now really have an effect on my future self? Absolutely. A majority of deaths in adults are caused by heart disease, cancer and stroke. In many cases, these diseases are preventable and the behaviors that can help prevent these diseases begin at a young age. As an example, teens who use tobacco are more likely to have heart disease or cancer as an adult.
- As a teenager, are there health concerns that are specific to me? Some of the top reasons teenagers and young adults pass away are car accidents and unintentional injuries. Teens should always wear a seat belt and other proper safety equipment such as a helmet. Risky behaviors such as alcohol or tobacco use, lack of physical activity and unprotected sex can not only jeopardize current health, but also their health as adults. Depression is another leading cause of illness and disability in teens. It’s important to recognize the signs of depression and seek help when needed.
What are some common reasons adolescents might need to see a care provider?
- Any injuries, illnesses or health concerns should be addressed with a teenager’s care provider.
- Blood pressure and BMI should be taken every one to two years.
- Vaccinations should be kept up to date, including getting the flu shot every year.
- A teen should also seek help from a care provider if they have experienced emotional, physical or sexual abuse, or problems with drugs or alcohol.
Here are some questions teens can ask their care provider to get the conversation started:
- What steps can I take to stay healthy?
- Am I at risk for any illnesses or diseases?