Teen Health: What Parents Should Stay On Top of

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  • Adolescents require proper health and wellness to improve their mental and academic performance.
  • Many teenagers are prone to unhealthy vices such as smoking, vaping, substance abuse, and poor dietary habits.
  • Seeking professional help from healthcare professionals such as doctors and dentists can provide valuable guidance and advice.
  • Parents should lead by example and demonstrate healthy habits, such as maintaining a nutritious diet, exercising regularly, and managing stress.

As a parent, ensuring your teen’s health is essential. Good adolescent health leads to improved academic performance and better mental health. Various research studies suggest that healthy teenagers are more assertive, confident, and better equipped to manage stress in daily life.

According to a report by the World Health Organization, approximately 1.2 million adolescents die yearly due to preventable causes. Over 80% of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. The leading causes of death in teenagers include road traffic accidents, HIV/AIDS, suicide, malaria, and interpersonal violence.

Parents are responsible for ensuring their teenagers are well informed about health topics and take preventive measures to ensure their well-being. Here are some tips for parents on how to stay on top of teen health:

Keep Watch of Unhealthy Habits

A teen trying to quit smoking

During adolescence, teenagers undergo significant physical, emotional, and social changes. These changes increase their curiosity, which often leads to experimenting with unhealthy habits. Unfortunately, many teens are prone to consuming unhealthy vices, which risks their health and well-being. Here are some of the most common unhealthy vices that parents should be aware of:

Smoking and Vaping

Smoking and vaping are widespread among teenagers, despite the well-known health risks associated with these habits. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2019, more than 5.3 million middle and high school students reported using e-cigarettes. The nicotine found in cigarettes and e-cigarettes can impact the development of the adolescent brain and increase the likelihood of addiction, depression, anxiety, and the risk of lung diseases.

Alcohol and Substance Abuse

Teens who use drugs or drink alcohol risk developing long-term substance abuse patterns, which can lead to addiction and other mental health disorders. Alcohol and drug dependency at a young age can cause a decline in academic performance, motivation, and social and emotional problems. According to a National Institute on Drug Abuse survey, approximately 35% of 12th graders used marijuana in the past year.

Unhealthy Sleeping Habits

Teenagers require more sleep than adults, but many factors can disrupt their sleep patterns. Unhealthy sleeping habits can cause depression, anxiety, increased eye strain, and poor concentration during the daytime. A survey by the National Sleep Foundation revealed that only 15% of teenagers get the recommended eight to ten hours of sleep.

Unhealthy Dietary Habits

Teenagers tend to develop poor dietary habits, such as frequent snacking on unhealthy food, skipping meals, and consuming high-calorie drinks. Unhealthy dietary habits can lead to long-term health consequences such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. A study by the CDC suggests that only 7% of American teenagers eat sufficient vegetables, and 2% have a diet consistent with recommendations from the Department of Agriculture.

Seek Professional Help

Teens in rehab

Consulting with doctors, dentists, and other healthcare professionals is crucial for ensuring your teen is healthy and well-informed. These professionals can provide valuable guidance and advice on various health concerns, including physical, mental, and emotional wellness.

Regular visits to the doctor are essential for monitoring your teen’s overall health and development. During routine checkups, doctors can screen for potential health issues, provide vaccinations, and advise on healthy lifestyle habits. Doctors can also offer support and resources for managing mental health concerns like anxiety and depression.

Dental checkups are equally important for maintaining good oral health. Poor oral hygiene can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and other dental issues that can cause pain and discomfort. Regular cleanings and checkups can help prevent these problems and ensure your teen’s teeth and gums stay healthy. Some teens might also require emergency dental implants because of tooth loss or decay. Teens might get involved in an accident that can cause a tooth to fall out, and an emergency dental implant will be the best solution.

Leading by Example

Parents should be aware that their behavior affects the health habits of their teenagers. Teens are more likely to copy the lifestyle of their parents, so parents need to lead by example and demonstrate healthy habits. Parents can set a positive example by maintaining a nutritious diet, exercising regularly, avoiding unhealthy vices like smoking and drinking alcohol and managing stress appropriately. Showing your teen a healthy lifestyle will ensure that they follow suit.

Another way to lead by example is to involve your teen in physical activities. Participating in sports helps teenagers stay physically active and develop essential skills such as teamwork, communication, and perseverance. Exercise can also boost energy levels and reduce stress. Parents should encourage their teenagers to find an activity they enjoy, such as swimming, running, or team sports, which can help promote good health habits.

Final Thoughts

Staying on top of your teen’s health is critical for their well-being. Of course, teens will learn healthy habits independently, but providing guidance and support can help them make healthier choices. Parents can ensure their teens stay healthy and well-informed by following the abovementioned tips.

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