Adolescent Health in Texas

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The American Red Cross offers safety tips everyone can follow to enjoy the holiday. 

Take 5 – for Safety 

Five Highway Safety Tips

  • Don’t drink and drive.
  • Buckle up (even in the back seat) and observe speed limits.
  • Don’t use a cell phone to call or text. Pay attention to the road.
  • Use caution in work zones.
  • Clean the vehicle’s lights and windows to help the driver see, especially at night. Turn the headlights on as dusk approaches, or during bad weather. 

Five Fireworks Safety Tips

  • Follow the instructions on the packaging. Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
  • Wear eye protection when lighting fireworks.
  • Light one firework at a time and never attempt to relight a “dud.”
  • Never throw or point fireworks at people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
  • Attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals. 

Five Grilling Safety Tips

  • Always watch a hot grill when in use.
  • Never grill indoors – not in the house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area.
  • Make sure everyone, including the pets, stays away from the grill.
  • Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.
  • Use long-handled grill tools to avoid burns. 

Find more tips on the Red Cross Emergency smartphone apps

Another app is Monster Guard. This teaches kids safety at home by playing a fun game.

The Maternal & Child Health Section wishes you a happy and safe Fourth of July.

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DSHS takes a universal look at adolescent health and well-being. Instead of tackling risky behaviors alone, Adolescent Health focuses on:

  • the overlap between risky behaviors,
  • the common causes,
  • the strengths that a youth has,
  • the adults who support youth, and,
  • successful activities.  

Partners include:

  • State agencies
  • families
  • schools
  • churches
  • communities
  • youth agencies  

Youth work should center on skills youth need to cope with stress and reduce the urge to take risks. We refer to these skills as protective factors.  Work should focus on strengths. The Positive Youth Development (PYD)model is key to health strategies for youth. PYD projects:

  • Develop relationships with caring adults,
  • Supportive interactions with parents,
  • Promote positive connections to school, and,
  • Have opportunities to experiment in healthy ways.  

Research from John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health shows that adolescents understand risk. The risk of any given action just fails to stop them because of the benefits they perceive.


While adolescents are generally healthy, substance abuse and other risky behaviors can be common problems. These health issues can have long-term effects.  

MCH believes that youth and family input is vital to program success in the community. MCH supports state-level projects to promote youth leadership and youth voice.  

The Texas Healthy Adolescent Initiative (THAI) is an example of this. THAI increases youth protective factors. THAI helps youth establish a strong base for adult life. It supports positive life choices. THAI supports Youth-Adult Partnerships. Communities can also use PYD and youth involvement to address community-identified risk factors.  

The Title V Needs Assessment showed the need to improve adolescent well visits too. We work with clinics to:

  • improve the adolescent-friendliness of the clinic,
  • increase the number of youth getting services, and,
  • make the most of health visits to look for potential health issues.

MCH believes that youth sexual violence is a public health problem. According a Center for Disease Control and Prevention Survey, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men suffered rape in their lifetime. One in 2 women and 1 in 5 men were victims of sexual violence other than rape at some point in their lives. A 2015 study conducted by UT (found here) had similar results in Texas.  

We are working to engage youth and unite communities around sexual assault. The main purpose is to prevent sexual violence by using prevention strategies. Examples of how local organizations are doing this include:

  • education for youth,
  • training for parents and other caring adults,
  • training for professionals connected to youth,
  • programs for students, and,
  • training campus personnel.

Education and training can reduce sexual assault on school campuses. Prevention uses activities to address the goals identified in Preventing Sexual Violence in Texas, A Primary Prevention Approach, 2010-2018. In 2016, Texas updated the State Plan. The amendment can be found here.

For more information, please contact us at:

Texas Department of State Health Services
Maternal & Child Health
PO Box 149347, Mail Code 1922
Austin, TX 78714-9347
(512) 776-7373: Phone
(512) 458-7658: Fax
TitleV@dshs.texas.gov

External links to other sites are intended to be informational and do not have the endorsement of the Texas Department of State Health Services. These external links may not be accessible to persons with disabilities. For more information about Maternal and Child Health or information regarding adolescent health in Texas, please email TitleV@dshs.texas.gov or call (512) 776-7373.


Last updated June 29, 2018