Adolescent Health in Texas

E-mail updates

Welcome to Maternal & Child Health’s Adolescent Health website.

While adolescents are generally healthy, substance abuse and other risky behaviors can be common problems. These health issues can have long-term effects. Follow these links to learn more:


What’s New
Important Numbers
Positive Youth Development
For Health Care Providers
Related Sites
Texas Healthy Adolescent Initiative
Sexual Violence Prevention  

Monthly Topic:  

'Tis the season to face sickness, stress, tiredness, or other holiday woes. The Maternal & Child Health Section has some tips for youth to stay well and have a good time this season.


Follow these tips to boost your body's defenses:

  1. Stop germs from spreading. Places people gather are places that germs can mingle. Protect yourself: Get a flu vaccine and wash your hands a lot. The holidays are about sharing, but some things you will want to keep to yourself. Do not share forks, spoons, and drinking utensils. People can be contagious before they know they are sick. Even a sip from someone's drink can put those germs in your body.
  2. Eat healthy and be merry. Holiday foods can be high in calories and low on the nutrition you need to battle germs and boost energy. Make it a priority to eat five or more fruits and vegetables a day. Carry an apple or a bag of baby carrots so you always have a healthy snack available. Also, don't give your exercise routine a holiday. Exercise gives you energy and burns calories.
  3. Relax. Even things we look forward to, like parties or gifts, can come with worries attached. If you feel stressed out, stop what you are doing for a moment. Take five deep breaths — all-the-way-down-to-your-belly. Concentrate on each breath as you inhale and exhale. Walk over to a window and look out at the sky. Then go back to what you were doing, with the understanding that holiday stress will happen.
  4. Beat the blues. Holiday depression isn't only in songs. For some people, it is seasonal, brought on by shorter days, longer nights, and colder weather. Other people are going through difficult life events like a breakup or a move. If you feel down, go outside, even if it's cold where you live. Sunlight and exercise are great mood lifters. Try a seasonal activity to put you in the holiday spirit. Don't hesitate to talk to someone you trust, like a parent or teacher, about how you are feeling.
  5. Get some ZZZs. Get 8½ to 9 hours of sleep a night during the holidays. This can help your immune system, give you more energy, and make you less vulnerable to stress.


One of the top things to do for your health is to get out and have fun. Forget about the tough stuff for a while (except for your safety, of course)! Be sure someone knows where you are and watch out for drunk drivers. Laugh and enjoy yourself. The holidays only come once a year.

The Maternal & Child Health - Adolescent Health area takes a “whole child” look at adolescent health and well-being. Instead of tackling risky behaviors alone, the Adolescent Health area focuses on:

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

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. Youth 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;
  • support caring interactions with parents;
  • promote positive connections to school; and
  • have opportunities for youth to experiment in healthy ways.  

Partners include:

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

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

MCH believes that youth and family input is vital to program success in the community. Please send questions or comments to us!

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


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 or call (512) 776-7373.


Last updated November 19, 2018