Our favorite website for years has been from Children’s Hospital in Boston. They have tons of great information on most medical topics we deal with in teenagers. See the article regarding family dinner and teen tobacco and drug use.
Please scroll down this page for links.
For girls visit http://youngwomenshealth.org/
For boys visit http://youngmenshealthsite.org/
Are you worried about your teenager’s acne? There is some great information on the AcneMonth.com webpage. You may want to start by linking to this page full of advice just for parents of teens:
It’s a difficult subject, but are you worried that your teen does not feel good about his or her body, or even is developing an eating disorder?
Everything in our culture bombards us with messages about body image. Teens are particularly vulnerable to a media that constantly blasts “thinner is better”. What to do? Annual checks are a good start. They let your doctor and you carefully follow the normal growth of your teen, just like you would with a young child. The hardest transition we see most teens face is once they stop growing in height. At that point, hormones continue to change the body into its adult shape. Many parents would be surprised by the confusion and incorrect messages teens hear as they go through this difficult time. Sometimes this confusion can overwhelm a teen and show up as disordered eating.
Any of our Teen Center providers can provide guidance about the normal physical development of teens. In addition, Dr. Tanner provides screening in cases where parents fear an eating disorder has developed.
To read more before your visit please go to:
BMI (Body Mass Index):
BMI is a calculation used to compare your teen’s weight to his/her height. This gives a rough estimation of percent body fat and used to determine if your teen is underweight, healthy weight, overweight or obese. When combined with family history, and a good diet and exercise history – it can help us determine if your teen is at risk for developing diseases such as diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension.
Sometimes we may find a teen with a BMI greater than the 84th percentile. We know these teens are the most likely to be at risk. By talking with your teen’s doctor, you decide if changes need to be made and can develop a plan to move their BMI to a healthy range.
Some websites we like with more information on BMI, diet, and exercise:
Did you know almost half of the respondents in a recent survey of public and private high school students said they had been the victims of bullying?
One organization with a national values-based curriculum is the Josephson Institute Center for Youth Ethics. They have a program called “Character Counts.” To learn more go to:
Did you know that suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in children 11-18 years old? In addition, 8% of all children age 12-17 years old have had at least one episode of what doctors consider a “major depressive episode” in the past year. Teens often do not get the help they need for depression and suicide. The American Academy of Pediatrics knows the best way to detect these problems is to have heath care providers screen teens regularly. In addition, parents need to be educated about what to look for in their own teens. The CDC and NIH have some good information on these topics.
If you know someone in crisis: Please call 1-800-273-TALK
DRINKING and DRIVING:
Did you know car crashes are the leading cause of death for anyone 15-20 years old?
As parents, there are many things you can do to prevent your teen from drinking and driving.
Know your teen’s itinerary for the night. Talk with the parents of the kids they say they will be out with.
Talk about drugs and alcohol with your teen regularly. We know that 42% of youths your talk with parents regularly about substance abuse will “just say no.”
Decide ahead of time on an appropriate curfew.
To read more and get you started go to the MADD website:
When does my daughter need to see the gynecologist?
Our most frequently asked question! The current recommendations for health screening are that pap smears are not required before age 21 years old. This is a service that we provide in the Teen Center for our older female teen patients. However, many teen girls will have gynecologic issues – such as problems with heavy periods, cramps, or even infrequent periods. We can help with many of these problems and a pelvic exam is not always needed as part of the evaluation.
PREVENTIVE HEALTH CARE:
Many teens don’t come to the doctor regularly. This puts them at risk to have early signs of major medical problems missed. In addition, they miss the opportunity for preventive health care – finding issues that could cause medical problems before they become a problem. Teenagers not seeing doctors regularly are a nationwide issue.
“Teens are particularly hard to reach for vaccines and other preventive care because many do not have a regular doctor or seek care unless they are ill or hurt”. Read more in this recent article:
Be aware that abuse in your child's relationship may exist. To learn warning signs go to: http://www.loveisrespect.org/get-help/help-others/help-your-child
Many teens and their parents think that “sports drinks” will improve their performance in sports. We know that for most kids, the only time these drinks might be needed is for exercise lasting longer than one hour. When kids are not drinking enough during exercise, the flavor of sports drinks can make them more enticing. A 40 kg athlete needs about 5 ounces of fluids every 20 minutes and a 60 kg athlete needs 8 ounces for every 20 minutes. In addition, smaller athletes needs 3-6 ounces of fluids 1-2 hours prior to exercise. That increases to 6-12 ounces pre-exercise for larger athletes. After exercise, athletes need to drink 16-24 ounces of fluids for every pound loss during activity- so parents should weigh their athletes before and after practice, especially during hot and humid weather. To read more about sports drinks in the news, go to:
What about energy drinks? The official position of the AAP is that there is no place for these in the diet of children and adolescents.
Read this article to find out more:
Most teams now require a “sports check up” to make sure that your child is healthy enough to participate in sports. When these exams are done in an outside facility, there is often no screening for other issues related to genetics and lifestyle. In our Teen Center a comprehensive check up provides screening for scoliosis, urine problems, anemia, hearing loss, vision changes, and other medical issues in addition to the requirements of a sports check up. While our Teen Center Providers can screen for sports eligibility as part of a well teen check up, the reverse is not true.
To read more about what the American Academy of Pediatrics has to say about sports physicals please go to (scroll to page2):
STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections):
It’s a hard subject to talk about, but really important. One of two sexually active teens and young adults will get an STI (sexually transmitted infection) by age 25yo. At the Teen Center we know the most important factor in preventing the spread of STIs is good education and screening. That is why we are available for all of our patients to talk about this subject, no matter what their current risk factors. Everyone should know that screening for STIs very easy. Simply by giving us a urine sample, most teens could be tested.
We love the MTV/CDC venture to get teens and young adults educated. It’s called Get Yourself Tested. Go to their website to learn more:
Did you know most people get 80% of their lifetime sun exposure in the first 18 years of life? Learn how to protect yourself in the sun by visiting:
In addition, we see a lot of teens that go to tanning beds. These increase the risk of skin cancers further. There has been an increase of melanoma in young women by 3% a year since 1992.
For more read this article:
Did you know 3 out of 10 girls will have been pregnant by age 20 years old? Even though it is really hard for most parents to talk to their teens about sex, it is one of the most important ongoing conversations you can have. They need your guidance and they need the real answers to their questions. To get you started look at this page just for parents from Stay Teen:
Did you know less than 60% of American teens are current with the recommended vaccines for tetanus, pertussis, diphtheria, meningitis, hepatitis A, and varicella? Scheduling teens for a well check up, just like infants, affords the opportunity to stay current .
See what diseases vaccines cover.
One shot that parents ask us the most about is Gardasil- the vaccine to prevent HPV, Human Papilloma Virus. In 2010, Gardasil was approved for use in boys, as well as girls. We now know that 50% of sexually active men and women will get HPV at some point in their lives.
For more information from the CDC about HPV go to:
For more information about Gardasil, the HPV vaccine we use in the Teen Center, you can read more on their website: