Your Guide To Teen Health

Adolescence happens to everyone. In between childhood and adulthood, every person must experience the state of being a teenager. This stage can be confusing and frustrating, as teens try to discover who they are and what they want for their futures, while at the same time trying to cope with the changes their bodies are going through and other influential outside challenges.

One of the most important things to understand as a teenager is how to remain healthy through all of these changes. The following information and resources will help you learn more about a teenager’s body, their mental health, physical health, teenage substance use, and sexuality.

Quick Facts Body Mental Health Food & Fitness Drugs & Alcohol Sexual Health

Quick Facts

  • 85% of teenagers will suffer from acne. Causes include one or a combination of the following: genetics, hormones, prescribed medications, cosmetics, stress, physical irritation, and environment. (The Acne Resource Center Online)
  • Alcohol kills 6.5 times more teenagers than all other illicit drugs combined. (Teen Drug Abuse)
  • Depression is the most common mental health disorder in the U.S. among teenagers.  About 20% of teens will experience teen depression before they reach childhood.  About 5% of teens are suffering from major depression at any one time. (About Teenage Depression)
  • Healthy eating in childhood and adolescence is important for proper growth and development and can prevent health problems such as obesity, dental caries, and iron deficiency anemia.  According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, of U.S. youth, 67% exceed dietary guidelines recommendations for fat intake, and 72% exceed recommendations for saturated fats intake.  Only 22.3% of high school students reported eating fruits and vegetables five or more times daily. (National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion)
  • In 2008, rates of binge alcohol use were 1.5% among 12-13 year olds, 6.9% among 14-15 year olds, 17.2% among 16-17 year olds, and 33.7% among persons aged 18 to 20. (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)
  • In 2009, 46% of high school students have had sexual intercourse, and 14% of high school students have had four or more sex partners during their life.  (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • Of the 18.9 million new cases of Sexually Transmitted Illnesses each year, 9.1 million (48%) occur among 15-24 year olds. (Guttmacher Institute)
  • On an average day in the United States, more than one million people tan in tanning salons.  Nearly 70% are teenage girls and young women. Unfortunately, tanning beds expose skin to harmful ultraviolet radiation that can be up to 15 times stronger than normal sunlight.
    (Medi-Smart)
  • Over half of teenage girls and nearly a third of teenage boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting, and taking laxatives. (National Eating Disorders Association)
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that youth participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily.  In 2009, 18% of high school students participated in at least 60 minutes per day of physical activity. (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • Youth with depression and anxiety engage in more risk behaviors during adolescence than youth experiencing less or none of these mental health problems. Specifically, they are more likely to use marijuana, have sex by the age of 16, use drugs, get into a fight, steal, and run away from home by 18. (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services)

Body

  • Acne Control: This website offers information, help and advice on the treatment and prevention of acne. It also provides support to friends and family of those suffering with acne, who would like to understand the physical and emotional trauma that acne can cause.
  • Body: This site, directed more towards girls, discusses the questions females ask about their body as they transition from girlhood to womanhood.  Also learn about various other topics, such as getting enough sleep, living with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), grooming and hygiene, and more.
  • Body Image: On this website dedicated to helping young people address their physical, emotional and social needs, this page focuses on body image. Included is a fact sheet on why you should love your body. There are also categories on clothes and fashion, eating disorders, hair, height/weight, and skin.
  • Body Piercings: This resource is perfect for teens deciding whether or not they want a body piercing.  Read what other teens are saying about body piercing, the risks and consequences, and what to look for in a piercing salon.
  • General Health: Located here is valuable information about a teenager’s body in general.  Click on the links for articles about tanning, hair care, contact lenses, cavities, and acne.
  • Hair Care Tips for Teens: This interesting resource goes quite in-depth about how teens should take care of their hair.  Whether you have long, short, curly, dry, or straight hair, this website will give you the best tips to keep it healthy and strong.
  • Helping Your Teen with Acne: WebMD provides this extensive resource about teen acne.  Learn about how it’s caused, how you can prevent pimples, how you can get rid of them once they appear, and learn about other health-related problems pertaining to skin.
  • Skin Care and Acne: A Guide for Teens: The Center for Young Women’s Health provides this resource on why acne occurs and how to treat it.  It discusses various acne medications and the do’s and don’t of acne.
  • Teenage Dental Health: This is a valuable resource for teens who want to learn more about their teeth. There is information on bad breath, braces, cavities, teeth whitening, wisdom teeth, and lots more.
  • Teens and Tanning:  This article, provided by Medi-Smart, talks about why tanning can be harmful for a teenager’s health.  Learn about myths of tanning dangers and how to avoid harmful UV exposure.
  • Your Body: These articles give you the basics on practically any aspect of your changing body, from head to toe. There is information on tanning, tattoos, acne, how to take care of your skin, and much more.

Mental Health

  • About Teenage Depression: This website is dedicated to presenting the best information about teenage depression, causes, symptoms, statistics, and preventative measures.  There is also a smaller section on teenage anxiety, an equally serious relative of depression.
  • Adolescent Stress and Depression: The University of Minnesota provides this article that talks about the realities of stress and depression.  Read about common causes and responses to stress, high risk youth, and how one might cope with such mental health issues.
  • Anxiety and Avoidant Disorders: This excerpt from Your Adolescent, published by the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, describes the signs that teenagers display when they are suffering from excessive anxiety. It includes information on its causes and consequences, as well as how to respond to such a disorder and what kind of treatment to seek.
  • Bipolar Disorder: This brochure created by the National Institute of Mental Health includes detailed information about bipolar disorder in children and teens. Learn what it is and its symptoms, how to treat it, and where you can go for more help.
  • Helping Teens Cope with Stress: Lifespan provides this interesting resource on teenagers and stress.  Learn what factors of daily life cause them to feel stress overload and how to manage this feeling.  At the bottom are links to more tips on stress management, relaxation techniques, a survival guide on life’s difficult changes, and more on stress.
  • Need 2 Know – Mental Health: Visit this colorful and engaging website to learn more about the basics of mental health.  You can also find more information about stress, self-injury, weight obsession, anger management, how to beat the winter blues, and more useful links.
  • Preventing Teen Suicide: The American Academy of Pediatrics provides a brief but valuable resource on some things you should know about preventing teenage suicide. It describes signs to look for in a depressed teen, as well as how to act on them.
  • Puberty101 – Mental Health: This website addresses common issues and questions faced by teens undergoing puberty.  On this page are a large number of resources on subjects that affect mental health, including child abuse, divorce, foster care, learning disabilities, moving, and much more.
  • Teen Social Anxiety Disorder: Social anxiety disorder is an intense fear of social environments, including performing in front of an audience or participating in large group activities.  This resource describes the symptoms of this disorder, causes, different types, and how to best deal with it.
  • Teen Depression: Here you can find a large number of articles related to teen depression.  You can learn about causes, warning signs, prevention, how to deal with teen depression, and antidepressants.
  • Your Mind: This resource has a number of articles related to a teenager’s mind. Categories include parents, feelings sad, mental health, feelings and emotions, relationships, families, friends, and dealing with problems.

Food & Fitness

  • Eating Disorders: This section of TeenHelp.com has a number of articles on eating disorders afflicting modern day teenagers.  The articles discuss self-image, bulimia, anorexia, binge eating, statistics, signs, causes, prevention, and treatment.
  • Food and Fitness: Find all the answers to your questions on various subjects about well-being, healthy weight, nutrition basics, exercise, sports, and problems with food and exercise. Included is a very interesting general Q&A about food and fitness with questions such as What can I do about overeating? and Will lifting weights harm my bones?
  • Keeping Fit: This colorful website includes a variety of fun ways for teenagers to exercise and stay fit.  It includes the basics, as well as articles on things such as street dancing, ballroom dancing, basketball, skiing, and much more.
  • Nutrition and Fitness: Included are various links on this topic. The first link on weight control also contains a further link to calculate your BMI. There are also articles on sports injuries, how to become a vegetarian, and methods to employ when eating properly.
  • Nutrition for Teens: Here you can learn about the basics of exercise, read about tales of teenagers and their nutritional problems, scour through an encyclopedia of teenage health information, and much more. The website can also be switched to Spanish and Dutch.
  • Overweight Teen: This resource helps overweight teens get healthy. Learn about what causes obesity and how it harms your health. Included are articles on various subjects such as weight loss surgery, TV/video games effects on obesity, and diets.
  • Teens Food and Nutrition: North Dakota State University provides this resource for teens to learn about healthy nutrition.  Included are links about a healthy diet, links describing the various foods in the pyramid, and additional resources.
  • Physical Activity and Children and Adolescents: Compiled by the Maternal and Child Health Library at Georgetown University, this website offers a selection of current resources that report on research aimed at identifying ways to improve physical activity in children and adolescents.  It also discusses physical activity for youth with special health care needs.
  • Sports and Nutrition: Teens often find themselves asking if they’re working out properly and eating the right foods to be fit.  Here is a resource with an extensive list on links on topics ranging from exercise regimens to healthy ways to lose and gain weight to supplements and performance enhancers.
  • Vegetarian Nutrition for Teenagers: Many teenage vegetarians face difficulties: pressures from parents and friends concerned about their health, and personal pressures to follow a vegetarian diet.  Use this resource to learn how to be a healthy vegetarian.  At the bottom are links to further information.
  • Weight Loss Central: This website is dedicated to helping teens stop the endless cycle of dieting and gain control of their weight.  It focuses on healthy and easy-to-follow nutritional and activity plans.  You can also find fun and healthy recipes to choose from.

Drugs & Alcohol

  • Addiction and Substance Abuse: Here you can find information on smoking, how to say noto drugs, and alcohol. Each article describes problems faced by teens who come into contact those substances, and how to get help.
  • Alcohol Abuse: The National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center provides this valuable source of information with articles related to teen substance abuse.  There is a fact sheet with statistics, as well as links to further articles about various subjects such as young adult drinking and its effects on the brain.
  • Alcohol, Cigarettes, and Drugs: This resource has a list of drugs and substances that teenagers sometimes encounter.  Examples include opium, over the counter drugs, steroids, cocaine, inhalants, and more. Clicking on each one will lead to answers of commonly asked questions about each topic.
  • Check Yourself: This is a place for teens to check out where they are in terms of drugs and alcohol.  You can do this by taking quizzes, playing interactive decision games, reading submitted moments-of-truth, reading first-hand experiences, learning about drug information, and more interesting things.
  • Drugs and Alcohol:  Here are a number of valuable articles on tobacco, alcohol, drugs, and how to get healthy. Each article has subcategories and goes into further detail. For example, the tobacco section discusses secondhand smoke, smokeless tobacco, smoking and asthma, and how to quit.
  • NIDA for Teens: The Science Behind Drug Abuse: The National Institute on Drug Abuse created this website to educate adolescents on the science behind drug abuse.  The website addresses appropriate questions and concerns. It has animated illustrations, quizzes, and games to clarify concepts and test the visitor’s knowledge.
  • Not On Tobacco: N-O-T is the American Lung Association’s program for teens who want to quit smoking. It is well researched and widely used in the United States. Explore this website to learn about tobacco and its effects on a teenager’s health, and find resources to help quit smoking.
  • Parents, the Anti-Drug: This resource was created by the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign to help adults raise drug-free kids.  There are useful articles and advice, science-based drug prevention information, and teen perspectives on drugs.
  • Teen Drug Abuse: This website is dedicated to educating people about why teens begin using drugs, what drugs they are using, and how these drugs affect teens physically, socially, and mentally.  You will find a lot of helpful information on substance abuse, including several articles about specific drugs.
  • TeenZeen: This resource includes information on teen drug abuse and alcohol prevention information.  There are numerous articles on abuse to help you learn about the effects of drugs, signs of drug usage and alcoholism, where to get help, alternatives to using, and options for substance abuse treatment.

Sexual Health

  • Abstinence: Advocates for Youth provides this valuable resource on helping teens remain abstinent.  Listed below are general facts on adolescent sexual behavior.  Links on the left lead to further resources on information on how to help youth delay sex.
  • Birth Control Pills: A Guide for Teens: The Center for Young Women’s Health has an extremely knowledgeable guide about what birth control pills are and how they work.  Learn about their effectiveness, side effects, how to obtain them, and any other answers to commonly asked questions.
  • I Wanna Know!: Run by the American Social Health Organization, this website has information about teen health and sexual health, including puberty, STDs, and social pressures surrounding sex.
  • Puberty101- Sexually Transmitted Diseases: This section of Puberty101 focuses solely on STDs.  Included are links to informational articles on Chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, genital warts, genital herpes, Hepatitis B, HIV/AIDS, and pubic lice.
  • Scarleteen: Sex Ed for the Real World: A fun website to navigate through, Scarleteen provides general sex health information and answers to common questions for teens, including anatomy and safer sex.  They have sex statistics based on real live polls as well as a search box in which you can enter any term you are curious in learning about.
  • Sex, Etc.: The mission of Sex, Etc. is to improve teen sexual health across the country. Visit this site for accurate sexual health information, answers to commonly asked questions, an in-depth section on sex terms, and articles on many various topics.
  • Sexual Health on Teen Source: This website is dedicated to providing sexual health information to youth in order to help them make informed decisions.  There is a section on hook-ups, birth control, STDs, and your rights as a teenager.
  • Sexuality & Sexual Health: This site has a long list of topics pertaining to sexual health, ranging from female body concerns to menstruation to oral sex.  Clicking on each topic will lead to a list of commonly asked questions about that subject. 
  • TeensHealth – Sexual Health: Here you can learn about sexual health from reading a variety of articles on puberty, menstruation, STDs, and birth control. There are even sections specifically for boys and for girls. Each section has interesting questions, such as Am I still a virgin if I use a tampon? and Why is my voice changing?
  • Teens in Charge: Explore this website to find information about STDs, safe sex, menstruation, cervical cancer, breast development in girls, and birth control. Clicking on the Q&A section will bring you to a list of common questions asked by teens about sex and health.
  • Teen Talk: Planned Parenthood offers an easy to navigate website on sexual health.  Learn about sex and masturbation, birth control, safe sex and STDs, teen pregnancy, and lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender issues.