For Young People

If you are between 10-24, your days are never the same. Each day can have many different life events.

  • You may be in school and school-related activities.
  • You may volunteer.
  • You may have a job.
  • You may be busy keeping up with the lives of your friends.
  • You may even be in a relationship with someone special.

You may also be facing other challenges in your everyday life.  At the same time, you are growing, living life and learning more about who you are. You are deciding who you want to be.

AH-teen-2018-pic

It can be messy for you to understand and navigate daily tasks. It definitely isn't easy. As you grow, you are making decisions that may impact your health and well-being down the road. The following things may be helpful in trying to sort through this thing called "life".   

Most important - have a caring and trusted adult in your life. This can be a parent, a relative, a teacher, a neighbor, or any adult that you trust. Young people who have support will connect with their community. They will connect with school and learning. They lead healthier lives.  

You will find a lot of great websites with tools and information to help you get healthy and stay healthy. Some examples can be found on the following websites:

  • SAMHSA (the National Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)
  • OAH (the US Health & Human Services Office of Adolescent Health).

Always check with an adult to be sure the website is real and safe.  

Tips:

Medical Health Care
Dental Health Care
Get Involved
Healthy Habits
Healthy Relationships
Safe Driving

Medical Health Care

Did you know you should have a health checkup every year? That's right! It’s not just for kids. Health checkups, a.k.a.  physical exams, help you with your general health and wellness.  

Growing up from childhood to adulthood is exciting and challenging. Health care changes often receive less attention than other transitions. Changes in school, work, relationships, and independent living are common. The Got Transition website can help you know everything you need to about health care. You also need to go to the doctor and dentist every year to stay healthy. You should make good use of your medical and dental appointments by asking questions. You should also learn how to use health insurance. Good health means eating right and having a good body/staying in shape. The scientific definition you hear in school is "the absence of illness." Being healthy with “no problems”. While these descriptions are true, there is more to it than that.  

During this health visit, the doctor or nurse might ask you questions about:

  1. Family history
  2. Eating habits
  3. Mental stress  

They will give you information to assist you:

  • With your health needs
  • With your physical and emotional development
  • With maintaining a healthy lifestyle including:
    • diet. This link takes you to estimated calorie needs der day by age, sex, and physical activity level.
    • fitness. This link takes you to CDC’s physical activity guidelines.
    • injury prevention. This link takes you to American Academy of Pediatrics’ sports injury prevention tips. And,
    • illness. This link takes you to a site to tips on annual screenings for potential health conditions that could adversely affect your health.  

Your health care provider may also suggest lab tests and shots ( immunizations). Follow the link to CDC’s recommended immunization schedule for teens.

Your health checkup allows you and your family to discuss issues that are important to you and them. Why gamble with your life? You only get to live once, why not maintain the absence of illness!  

Dental Health Care

  • Brush your teeth last thing at night and at least one other time during the day, with fluoride toothpaste. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles, and brush for 2 minutes. Remember, a toothbrush isn’t a magic wand—any spot you don’t touch with the brush, won’t get clean!
  • Have sugary food and drinks only at mealtimes. Grazing/sipping all day keeps your mouth acidic which is BAD news for teeth. You’re not a cow, so don’t graze!
  • Visit your dental team at least twice a year, or as often as your dentist recommends.
  • Clean between your teeth with floss at least once a day, to help remove plaque and food from between your teeth. Most cavities develop between the teeth. That’s why floss is important. Getting the plaque and food from between your teeth will help with bad breath issues. It will keep gums from bleeding all over the place.
  • Use a mouthwash to freshen your breath and kill bacteria.
  • Use a straw if you have fizzy drinks. This helps the drink to go to the back of your mouth and reduces the number of acid attacks on your teeth.
  • Wait 20 minutes after eating or drinking anything acidic before you brush your teeth.
  • Chew sugar-free gum after eating. It helps make more saliva and cancel out the acids which form in your mouth after eating.
  • Don’t wait around for your parents to bring it up—if you feel like you need to go, tell them!

Get Involved

Get involved in activities for your health! Some activities you can get involved with are:

  • Sports
  • Music
  • Clubs
  • Exercising
  • Volunteering
  • Mentoring

Healthy Habits

Healthy habits now will help you stay healthy in the future. Picking out what to eat and ensuring that you get enough sleep at night will affect your health for a long time. You should be proactive in making healthy decisions and developing healthy habits. It’s important to get good information on:

  • nutrition. This link takes you to nutrition.gov’s MyPlate tips.
  • exercise. This link takes you to the many benefits of exercise.
  • the importance of sleep. This link takes you to an informative article.
  • preventing drug abuse. This link provides you with services to how to avoid drug dependency and where to go if you need help.

A good eating plan helps you manage your weight. It includes a variety of foods you may not have considered. If "healthy eating" makes you think about the foods you can't have, try refocusing on all the new foods you can eat—

  • Fresh, Frozen, or Canned Fruits ― think more than apples or bananas. All fresh, frozen, or canned fruits are great choices. Be sure to try some "exotic" fruits, too. How about a mango? Or a juicy pineapple or kiwi fruit! When your favorite fresh fruits aren't in season, try a frozen, canned, or dried variety of a fresh fruit you enjoy. One caution about canned fruits is that they may contain added sugars or syrups. Be sure and choose canned varieties of fruit packed in water or in their own juice.
  • Fresh, Frozen, or Canned Vegetables ― try something new. You may love vegetables with an herb you haven't tried like rosemary. You can sauté (panfry) vegetables in a non-stick pan with a small amount of cooking spray. You could also try frozen or canned vegetables for a quick side dish. Make sure to look for canned vegetables without added salt, butter, or cream sauces. You should try to commit to going to the produce department and trying a new vegetable each week.
  • Calcium-rich foods ― What do you think when someone says "eat more dairy products." A glass of milk? What about yogurt? These come in a wide variety of flavors. Yogurt is a great dessert substitute for those with a sweet tooth.
  • A new twist on an old favorite ― try healthier variations of your favorite foods using baking or grilling techniques. Try a recipe that uses dry beans in place of higher-fat meats.

Help your parent shop for groceries or plan the meals!  

Healthy Relationships

Positive, supportive relationships with others keep you healthy. Examples of how to have good relationships are:

  • Build good friendships. This link provides you with the necessary ingredients for healthy relationships.
  • Be there for others.
  • Talk with your parents and other adults.
  • Talk to your friends. This link provides tips for better communication.
  • Manage emotions like anger and jealousy. The link provides ways to control your emotions.
  • Treat others with respect.

These are a few ways to keep relationships healthy and nonviolent.  

How you behave in relationships comes from peers, adults in your life, and the media. These examples might suggest that violence in a relationship is normal. Violence is NEVER acceptable. Reach out to a caring adult if you have questions or concerns with your partner or friend.  

Safe Driving

Cell phone usage while driving dangerous. Some areas in Texas have made the use of a cell phone while driving illegal. Other areas have laws to ban handheld use, but allow the usage of a “hands free” device. “Hands free” cellular devices are notsafer. It’s the brain power needed to hold a conversation, not the use of hands, which increases risk.  

There are restrictions in place for youth and new license holders. You should discuss the laws related to Graduated Driver’s License with your parent. One huge risks for new drivers is having too many friends in the car. Another risk is not having passengers in the back seat use seat belts. Limit your friends. Also, remember to buckle up!  

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 March 27, 2019