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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, vision, and possibly hearing.
3. Ask questions, address concerns, and offer advice about your teen’s:
Eating. Teens should eat three meals a day that include lean protein, whole grains, at least five servings of fruits and vegetables, and three servings of low-fat or nonfat dairy products or milk alternatives.
Sleeping. Teens need about 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night. Poor sleep is common during the teen years and can hurt school 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 teen to follow a relaxing bedtime routine. Digital devices, like phones and computers, should be turned off before bed.
Physical activity. Teens should aim for 60 minutes of physical activity per day. Encourage your teen to limit his or her screen time to no more than 2 hours daily, not including time spent on homework. Set a good example by limiting your own screen time and exercising daily.
Growth and development. By age 17, it’s common for teens to:
4. Do a physical exam. The doctor will look at the skin, listen to the heart and lungs, check the back for curvature of the spine, and check for puberty development. A chaperone should be present during the exam.
5. Update immunizations. Immunizations can protect people from serious illnesses, so it’s important that your teen receive them on time. Immunization schedules can vary from office to office, so talk to your doctor about what to expect.
6. Order tests. Your doctor may assess your teen’s risk for anemia, high cholesterol, tuberculosis and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Here are some things to keep in mind until your teen’s next checkup at 18 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.
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.
When teens get their driver’s license, parents should consider creating their own rules of the road beyond the relevant driving laws.
Helping to prepare your teen for life after high school is one of the most important tasks you will have as a parent.
Parents should learn about the most common STDs, how they spread, and how they’re diagnosed and treated.
Kids who enjoy exercise tend to stay active throughout their lives. Learn how to encourage fitness in your teen.
Regular visits help your teen’s doctor keep track of changes in physical, mental, and social development. The doctor can also help your teen understand the importance of choosing a healthy lifestyle.
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.
Involving teens in their health care can help prepare them for managing it on their own as adults.
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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