Tween and teen health

Fitness and nutrition are the cornerstones of tween and teen health. The healthy habits your child develops now can set the tone for a lifetime of good health.

If your child is physically active, encourage him or her to keep it up. If your child isn't interested in organized sports, suggest alternatives. You can also promote tween and teen health by encouraging your child to eat healthy foods. Offer various healthy foods at home, talk about portion control, and encourage your child to make good choices when he or she eats with friends.

Share any concerns you might have about tween and teen health with your child's doctor.

Tween health

During the tween years, family dynamics might change as your child grows and develops. Tween health issues can range from puberty to bullying and substance abuse.

For girls, menstruation is a primary tween health concern. Talking about menstruation can be embarrassing for both you and your tween — but it's important. Consider ways to approach this tween health topic.

Substance abuse is another possible tween health concern. Talk to your tween about the dangers of inhalants, alcohol and other drugs. Be alert to the warning signs, and be prepared to take action if necessary.

Remember, your role is to help your tween learn how to make healthy choices for a lifetime. Consult your tween's doctor with any concerns you might have about tween health.

Teen health

Concerns about teen health typically focus on lifestyle issues — such as weight control, sleep, smoking and sex.

Teenage obesity is a dangerous — and growing — teen health problem. Although there's no magic bullet for teen weight loss, there's plenty you can do to help. Talk about teen-friendly tactics, such as watching portion sizes and regular physical activity.

Sex is another primary teen health concern. Your teen needs accurate information about sex and teen health. But it's just as important to discuss feelings, attitudes and values. By talking openly and honestly, you can help your teen emerge into a sexually responsible adult.

If your teen health concerns include smoking, consider ways to help your teen resist that first puff — as well as practical strategies for stopping teen smoking.

Sept. 23, 2021