Teens: How to Stay Healthy
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The general health of a person is much more than the absence of disease. It is the state of physical, mental and social well-being. Ultimately, it is the key to living a productive and fulfilling life.
Path to improved health
The concept of health can be divided into different categories. You can talk about physical, mental, emotional and behavioral health. Anyone can take certain actions to stay healthy in these areas. As teenagers, you should pay attention to certain guidelines.
Physical Health: Take Care of Your Body
- Get regular exercise. Teens should be physically active for at least 60 minutes a day.
- Eat a healthy diet. Eating healthy is an important part of your growth and development. You should eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, different sources of protein, and low-fat dairy. Avoid junk food like soda, fast food, and potato chips, even as a teen. This will help you as you get older.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Obese children and adolescents are more likely to be obese as adults. They are also at higher risk for other chronic illnesses, depression, and bullying.
- Get enough sleep. Most teens need between 8 and 10 hours of sleep a night. Many only get an average of 7 hours of sleep. Sleep has a strong effect on the ability to concentrate and school performance.
- Comply with vaccinations. It is important to get a flu shot every year. If you don’t already have the HPV vaccine, ask your parents and your healthcare provider about it. This vaccine can prevent HPV and other types of cancer, such as cervical and throat cancer.
- Brush your teeth and floss. If it becomes a habit now, dental and gum problems can be prevented in adulthood.
- Use sunscreen. Sunburn in childhood or adolescence, even just once, increases the risk of skin cancer in adulthood. Don’t use tanning beds. They increase the risk of skin cancer.
- Don’t listen to loud music. This can damage hearing for the rest of life.
Mental Health: Take Care of Your Mind
- Learn ways to manage stress. You can’t avoid stress, so you need to learn healthy coping skills. This will help you stay calm and be able to act in stressful situations.
- Study and do well in school. There is a strong link between health and academic success.
- Try to maintain a good relationship with your parents. Remember that they want the best for you. Try to analyze the rules that are imposed on you.
- Create a good balance between school, work and social life.
- Don’t try to cover too much. Limit your activities to the most important ones and dedicate yourself to them fully. Pushing yourself too hard can lead to stress, frustration, or burnout.
Emotional Health: Take Care of Your Feelings
- Know the signs of mental illness. These include:
- Excessive tiredness
- Loss of self-esteem
- Loss of interest in things that used to interest you
- Loss of appetite
- Weight gain or loss
- Strange changes in personality
- Pay attention to moods and feelings. Don’t assume that your negative feelings or thoughts are part of adolescence. If you are worried about something, seek help.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. If you can’t talk to your parents, talk to a nearby teacher or school counselor. Talk to your family doctor or health care provider. Find an adult you can trust. If you feel very sad or think about hurting yourself, get help right away.
- Accept yourself. If you have low self-esteem or body image issues, talk to someone about it. Even talking to a friend can help.
- Don’t harass other people. And if you are being bullied, talk to your parents, teachers, or other adults. This includes harassment online or over the phone.
Behavioral Health: Keep Yourself Safe Through Your Behaviors
- Avoid substance use or abuse. This includes alcohol, street drugs, other people’s prescription drugs, and any type of product that contains tobacco or vaping.
- Drive responsibly. Car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States. Always wear your seat belt. Don’t get into a car full of other teens. They can distract the driver and increase the chance of an accident. Never get into a vehicle if the driver has been drinking.
- Wear a protective helmet. Wear a helmet if you ride a bike or play sports to prevent head injuries.
- Avoid violence. Stay away from situations where violence or fighting could cause physical harm.
- Practice safe sex. If you have sex, always use a condom so you don’t get sexually transmitted infections (STIs). If you are sexually active, talk to your healthcare provider about birth control to prevent unintended pregnancy. If you can’t take pills, use condoms for contraception. Even if you can use birth control, it does not prevent STIs; use condoms in addition to other birth control methods.
Your healthcare provider may do any of the following to help you stay healthy:
- Determine your risk for certain health problems.
- Measure your weight, height, and blood pressure.
- Give you advice on healthy habits, such as diet and physical activity.
- Offer vaccinations, if needed.
- Administer vaccinations to reduce the risk of disease. Some of them can be meningitis, tetanus or HPV.
Things to consider
Will the habits I have now make a difference when I’m older?
Yes. Many adult deaths are caused by heart disease, cancer, and stroke. In many cases, these diseases can be prevented. Many of the behaviors that cause these diseases begin at a young age. For example, teens who use tobacco are more likely to have heart disease, cancer, or stroke as adults.
At my age, what should I especially worry about?
The leading causes of death for adolescents and young adults are accidents, homicides, and suicides. Cancer and heart disease are rare in teens, but they can affect you at this age. Unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections can affect your health. They can also cause social and personal problems.
Do men have different health risks than women?
Yes. Young men tend to engage in riskier behaviors than women, such as not wearing seat belts. They are also more likely to carry guns, get into fights, use smokeless tobacco or marijuana, drink a lot of alcohol, and have more sexual partners. On the other hand, women have some special risks. They attempt suicide more often. They also try to lose weight in harmful ways more often than boys.
Should I talk to my healthcare provider if I am concerned about my health or my body?
Yes. It is important to talk to your healthcare provider if you have concerns about your health or your body. The healthcare provider is here to help you.