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Adolescent Well-Care Visits

Well-care visits are still very important as your child reaches the teen years. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a once-a-year well-care visit through age 21.

Understand the benefits

Every well-care visit covers a wide range of health needs. These include:

  • Vaccines 
  • Checks of vision, hearing, cholesterol and blood pressure at recommended ages
  • An assessment of your teen’s emotional health, sleeping, eating and physical activity
  • A review of how your teen’s doing in school, at home and in extracurricular activities
  • Time to talk about issues such as drinking, smoking, drugs, sexual activity and depression

Chat away

Asking questions during these appointments is a great way to build a relationship that can help the health care provider better understand your teen’s wellness needs.

Before your appointment, jot down three to five questions about your teen’s well-being that you’d like to discuss. Take this opportunity to ask about anything ranging from health conditions to changes in behavior and problems learning in school. Other important questions include:

  • How can I make sure my teen is getting enough physical activity and eating healthy?
  • Is my teen at a healthy weight?
  • What’s the best way to teach my teen how to use the internet safely?
  • Do you have tips for talking with my teen about bullying?
  • How do I help my child know what to expect during puberty?

Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Pediatrics, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health

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Keep bones growing strong

You can help your child build stronger bones now to protect them for decades to come. Encourage your teen to be physically active for at least an hour every day. Offer foods high in calcium like milk, yogurt, green leafy veggies and foods fortified with calcium such as oatmeal.

Sources: JAMA Pediatrics, National Osteoporosis Foundation, BMC Public Health

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Set a sleep schedule for school success

Getting enough sleep is vital to your child’s ability to focus and learn. Set a bedtime before the school year starts to get them ready. Younger kids should get about 10 to 12 hours a night while teens should get at least eight to 10 hours.

Sources: National Institute of Mental Health, Children’s Health and Safety Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, National Sleep Foundation, American Psychological Association

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Talk to your kids about the dangers of vaping

Many young people think e-cigarettes are harmless flavored water, but they contain high levels of nicotine. And teens who vape are likely to smoke traditional cigarettes. Talk with your kids about the dangers of vaping. E-cigarettes are not worth the risk to their health. Visit the American Lung Association at lung.org and type “vaping” into the search bar for more information.

Sources: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Pediatrics, New York Times, American Lung Association, Truth Initiative, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, American Academy of Pediatrics

Here is useful advice about how you can help your teen learn more about healthy living: