Do you have a child or care for someone between the ages of 11-21 years old? These tweens, teens and young adults are all adolescents, a word used by healthcare providers to describe this age group.
Did you know that all adolescents should have a yearly check up with their healthcare provider?
We want to see them every year even if they don’t need a sports form!
Although most adolescents are healthy, their bodies and brains are changing rapidly. There are obvious physical changes like puberty, but they are experiencing big social, emotional, and behavioral changes, too. These changes can affect the choices they make now. Habits made at this age can last a lifetime.
Did you know that 3 out of 4 teens report they have tried at least one risky behavior such as drinking alcohol, smoking or vaping, using drugs, having unprotected sex, unsafe driving behaviors, or eating unhealthy foods?
What to expect at an adolescent well care visit
Pediatric and family medicine healthcare providers recommend adolescents see a provider every year for a regular checkup, called an adolescent well care visit. These visits cover more than asking health questions, measuring growth, and discussing immunizations.
The provider will also talk about other issues important to the health of an adolescent, including questions about school, friends, their mood, smoking, alcohol use, drug use, sexual identity and behaviors, and safety. The provider will congratulate your adolescent on all the healthy choices they make. If your adolescent is making risky choices, the provider can help them make a plan to change and get treatment if needed.
Although it is important that your adolescent have some time alone with the provider to discuss sensitive topics, you will also have a chance to meet with both the provider and your adolescent together to discuss any questions or concerns you may have.
Together with parents and teachers, healthcare providers can give your adolescent another trusted adult with whom to talk. Seeing a healthcare provider every year can help your adolescent lead a healthier life now and set up good habits as they become independent adults.
Call your pediatric or family practice provider today to schedule your tween, teen or your young adult’s yearly adolescent well care visit. You can lead by example and call your own provider to schedule your yearly health exam while you are at it!
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Leah Costello, MD, FAAP, is a pediatrician at Timber Lane Pediatrics and a member of Chittenden Accountable Community for Health at OneCare Vermont.