If you have teenagers, you need to be aware of certain health concerns. There’s no doubt that you’ve nursed your children though colds, the flu and even chicken pox. There are larger health issues once your teenagers hit puberty and move beyond it. Here are some health concerns to watch for in teens.
1. Teen Substance Abuse
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “Underage drinking is a leading contributor to death from injuries.” Teenage death does not frequently occur from alcohol itself, but from instances resulting from the over-consumption of alcohol. Car accidents, homicides and suicides can all be attributed to underage drinking. You should also know that teens who start drinking before they turn 15 are five times more likely to develop chronic alcohol problems.
2. Obesity in Teens
In today’s fast-paced society, teenage obesity is at an all-time high. Children who do not learn how to eat in a healthy way are more likely to be heavier than their peers. Obesity can cause diabetes, heart problems, joint problems and general health problems in teenagers. Remember that your children learn by your example. Eating healthy yourself is the best way to teach your teenager how to make smart choices when it comes to food and healthy eating habits. Sitting down and eating together as a family is another way to ensure that your teens are eating as they should be.
3. Teen Body Image
Often considered a mental-health concern, if a concern at all, body image issues can have very real physical health consequences. Children of both genders are at risk for poor body images. Children of all ages are inundated with images of the “perfect” body in print and media on a daily basis. A poor self body-image, when taken too far, can result in binge eating, anorexia and bulimia. In the most extreme cases, poor body image can lead to suicide. Teach your children that people come in all shapes and sizes. You should also teach your children that the models and actors that they see represent a very small portion of the population and that, in the case of print, photos are touched-up dramatically.
4. Teen Sex
Parents don’t want to think about their teens having sexual intercourse, but the fact of the matter is that some teens are having sex. Instead of sticking your head in the sand, talk to your teens. Never assume that your teens know all that there is to know about safe sex. If your teenagers are having sex, teaching them how to protect themselves can prevent STIs and unwanted pregnancy.
5. Teen Dating Violence
The CDC reports that almost 10 percent of high school students report being physically assaulted by a boyfriend or girlfriend over the course of 12 months. Teenagers who are victims of dating violence are more likely to do poorly in school, develop problems with drugs and alcohol, become depressed and may even attempt suicide. If you believe that your son or daughter is involved in a violent relationship, sit them down for a talk immediately. Keep in mind that professional intervention may be necessary.
Raising children is a wonderful experience. Every parent wants their children to be safe and happy. Understanding the health concerns that are prevalent among teens can help you to ensure both. Stay alert for changes in your teen and keep the doors of communication open.