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Health Information For Parents
Your doctor and/or nurse will probably:
1. Check your teen’s weight and height, calculate body mass index (BMI), and plot the measurements on growth charts.
2. Check your teen’s blood pressure and possibly hearing.
3. Give a screening test to check for signs of depression.
4. Ask questions, address concerns, and offer advice about your teen’s:
Eating. Teens should begin making healthy food choices on their own. Explain that eating five servings of fruits and vegetables per day and avoiding sweet, salty, and fatty foods not only is better nutritionally but will support a healthy weight. Calcium and iron are important for the growth spurts of adolescence. Aim for three daily servings of low-fat dairy products (or dairy alternatives) to provide 1,300 milligrams of calcium. Include enough lean meats, poultry, and seafood in the diet to reach 8 milligrams of iron per day.
Sleeping. Teens need about 9 to 11 hours of sleep per night. Poor sleep is common and can hurt grades and athletic performance. Biological changes make teens want to stay up later, but early school start times can make it hard for them to get enough sleep. Encourage your child to follow a relaxing bedtime routine, and keep TVs and all digital devices out of your teen’s bedroom.
Physical activity. Aim for 60 minutes of physical activity per day. Set daily limits on screen time, including TV, DVDs, video games, smartphones, tablets, and computers.
Growth and development. By age 14, it’s common for teens to:
5. Do a physical exam. This will include looking at the skin, listening to the heart and lungs, checking the back for any curvature of the spine, and looking for puberty development. A parent, caregiver, or chaperone should be present during this part of the exam, but siblings should remain outside in the waiting room to give your teen privacy.
6. Update immunizations. Immunizations can protect people from serious illnesses, so it’s important that your teen get them on time. Immunization schedules can vary from office to office, so talk to your doctor about what to expect.
7. Order tests. Your doctor may check your teen’s risk for anemia, high cholesterol, tuberculosis, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and order tests, if needed.
Here are some things to keep in mind until your teen’s next checkup at 15 years:
These checkup sheets are consistent with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)/Bright Futures guidelines.
These age-specific guides can help you be prepared for and keep track of your well-child visits.
Big physical and emotional changes happen during puberty and the teen years. These articles can help you become a source of information, comfort, and support for your kids.
Talking to your kids about sex can be a challenge. But discussing issues like birth control can help lower teens’ risk of unintended pregnancy or getting an STD.
Help your teen or young adult make the transition from pediatric health care to adult health care. Get tips on finding a new doctor and getting health insurance.
Teens spend much of the day outside the home, but it’s important that you take time every day to talk with your teen to share opinions, ideas, and information.
Kids who enjoy exercise tend to stay active throughout their lives. Learn how to encourage fitness in your teen.
Parents can play a crucial role in helping teens succeed in school by lending a little help, support, and guidance, and by knowing what problems demand their involvement and which ones require them to hang back.
You’ve lived through 2 AM feedings, toddler temper tantrums, and the back-to-school blues. So why is the word “teenager” causing you so much anxiety?
Kids entering puberty will undergo many changes in their developing bodies. Find out more about what to expect.
Does your teen have trouble falling asleep at night? Is he or she sleepy during the day? Find out if it’s just a normal part of adolescence, or if something else is to blame.
The idea of going to the gynecologist may make your daughter feel nervous. Here’s how to make her feel more comfortable about a well-woman visit.
Vaccines help keep kids healthy, but many parents still have questions about them. Get answers here.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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