Teen Health

Posted at 6:20 PM on Feb 4, 2022


As parents, we have likely all witnessed our teens assuming nothing bad could ever happen to them. In general, teenagers tend to think they are impervious, immortal superhumans. Unfortunately, the fact is that they can be affected by serious health issues just like the rest of us. Let’s keep our teens as healthy as possible by following some simple tips.

Teen Health Topics – Putting Their Health First


Nutrition is the foundation for living a healthy life for everyone. Habits are learned as children and carried into adulthood. Therefore, it is incredibly important for developing children to learn proper nutrition. Teenagers need to consume anywhere from 2,200-2,800 calories daily. Rather than stocking your kitchen with highly processed, quick calorie foods think about stocking your shelves with whole natural satisfying foods that can be put together into a healthy meal.

General recommendations for your teen’s nutrition include:

  • Family dinners provide an opportunity for family members to come together, strengthen ties and build better relationships, all while enjoying home-cooked, nutritious food. We know your teen is busy with activities but making time for an evening meal with their family is essential to developing a healthy relationship with food and family.  

  • Eating fruits and vegetables daily – Aim for one veggie and fruit with every meal. Mix it up and be sure to buy a wide variety of vegetables for them to choose from. Fruits make a much better choice for dessert.

  • Calcium-rich foods– Be sure they are getting at least 1,300 milligrams (mg) of calcium daily. Foods like seeds, cheese, yogurt, milk, sardines, beans, lentils, almonds, and leafy greens are all great choices.

  • Protein – Aim for about half a gram of protein per pound of body weight. Meaning, if your teen is 100 lbs they should be eating about 50 grams of protein per day. Good sources of protein include: meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, and tofu.

  • Whole Grains – These are high in fiber, filling, and generally more nutrient-dense than bleached/enriched versions. Grains can be thought of as the energy source in your child’s diet. Whole grains include: brown rice, whole grain pasta, whole grain bread, steel-cut oatmeal, and whole-grain breakfast cereals.

Screen Time

We are all addicted to our smart devices, and your teenagers likely win the prize for the most daily screen time. They use screens for schoolwork and then indulge in additional screen time with video games, TV, and social media. There have been countless studies on the negative effects of too much screen time. Therefore, it is important to monitor and limit their screen time. Below are some of the most significant negative effects:

  • Lack of exercise

  • Lack of focus to do homework

  • No longer spending quality time with friends and family

  • Attitude and behavior changes

  • Inability to concentrate

  • Compulsive behavior to have their device

  • Eye strain/eye issues

  • Neck and back pain from looking down at their device

  • Negative effects on self-esteem and self-worth

The recommendations on daily screen time vary; however, a general rule is screen time should not replace the time needed for sleeping, eating, being active, studying, and interacting with family and friends. Teens often need at least 9 hours of sleep per night and 1 hour of exercise per day, so if social screen time is affecting this, then it is important to set rules on your teen’s screen time and stick to it.


It is recommended that teens get 60 minutes of moderate-vigorous physical activity every day. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) has found that 80% of teenagers are not getting the recommended amount of exercise. This is a startling statistic and demonstrates that we need to act. As parents, we need to set an example by getting enough exercise ourselves as well as encouraging our teens to move more. Help your teen find an activity that they enjoy and gets them moving daily. Also, think about planning regular family activities around physical activity. Get the whole family moving more.

Regular Checkups

Even though your child may appear perfectly healthy, regular checkups by their primary care doctor are important. These exams ensure that your child is developing properly, is a healthy weight, helps catch any potential health issues early, and serve as a time for you to openly address any concerns you may have as a parent about your child. Schedule your child’s visit today!