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What to Know about Teens Health

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What to know about teens health. Teen health often known as adolescent health, refers to the variety of methods used to protect, identify, or manage the health and wellbeing of young people.

Key points

  • Teen health refers to the variety of methods used to protect, identify, or manage the health and wellbeing of young people.
  • Teens are defined by the World Health Organization as those between the ages of 13 and 19.
  • What to now about teens health is that they may underestimate the dangers of some behaviours while overestimating the risks of others, or they may not be aware of the risks of damage connected to particular behaviours.
  • The top health issues affecting teenagers are: traffic accidents; violence; drugs and alcohol; mental well-being; infectious diseases like tuberculosis and HIV; Unplanned pregnancy and being overweight
  • Discrimination can cause social and emotional distress, indulge in risky health behaviours, and neglect academic pursuit.

The teenage phase is one that is characterized by discoveries. The body changes as puberty sets in and the teenager embarks on a journey to maturity. The whole teenage stage is centralized on the transition from childhood to adulthood, and all the hurdles and ‘mysteries’ it poses to the teenager or parents can be traced down to hormonal changes. Teens are defined by the World Health Organization as those between the ages of 13 and 19.

In this exciting part of one’s life, it is important to pay attention to their physical and mental health. Teen health is a field that requires careful consideration of social, cultural, and environmental aspects. Compared to children or adults, teens have different developmental demands and unique health issues.

Teenage girl
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Teenage health issues are primarily psychological in nature as opposed to biological. Teenage development processes are reflected in the health risk behaviours that young people frequently participate in, such as sexual behaviour, drug and alcohol use, experimentation, and other risk-taking that jeopardizes their physical and mental well-being.

The World Health Organization lists the following as the top health issues affecting people between the ages of 10 and 19:

  • Traffic accidents on the roads.
  • Submerging in violence.
  • Drugs and alcohol.
  • Cigarette.
  • Mental well-being.
  • Infectious diseases (like tuberculosis and HIV).
  • Early conception, pregnancy, and delivery.
  • Environmental well-being.
  • Being overweight.
  • Exercise.

What to know about teens health

Teens may underestimate the dangers of some behaviour while overestimating the risks of others, or they may not be aware of the risks of damage connected to particular behaviours. They might not know where or how to get care for their health issues, or they might still be learning protective habits and abilities. Many chronic problems later in life can be avoided by taking action now, in this early stage of life.

Access to key health-care services for teens

Research on the barriers that prevent teens from using healthcare services has found that the main factors are related to privacy, the perspectives and styles of communication of healthcare providers, the surroundings, and the accessibility of services, the cost, and the growth traits of the youth.

Teen medicine is a specialty within youth health, in addition to other basic and additional health services. Mental health services, child protection, drug and alcohol services, and sexual health services are among the health services available to teens.

Multidisciplinary health professionals, such as those in psychology, social work, youth health nursing, and school health services, collaborate with general practitioners. Teens are supported and engaged by youth work.

Physical Health

For females, physical changes include the change in body shape as a result of breast and hip development and the start of menstruation. While for the males, the voice deepens, the shoulder broadens, and the testicles begin to develop.

Generally, across both genders, there is an increase in size and height, the growth of pubic and body hair, as well as the appearance of acne and body odour. All these are stimulated by hormonal changes. Also, desire for independence and peer acceptance; emphasis on conduct and appearance; desire to partake in dangerous activities.

To be physically fit as a teenager, it is important to

1. Practice Good Hygiene: Acne and body odour are normal occurrences as an increase in hormones cause an increase in moisture that the sweat glands produce. It is therefore essential for an adolescent to wash up at least twice a day with soap and water to rid the skin of germs that thrive in sweaty conditions.

2. Eat Healthy: Vegetables, grains, fruits, dairy, and fibre are healthy groups of food for a teenager. These food classes contain nutrients that facilitates the development and growth of children during puberty. Fatty foods should be avoided as much as possible because they are the leading cause of obesity at this stage.

3. Exercise: Physical exercises such as aerobics (swimming, running, and dancing) help to strengthen the muscles as well as regulate the weight of an adolescent. Other physical activities such as hiking and carrying out chores, skateboarding and yoga, also come in handy in regulating a teenager’s weight.

Overall, exercises also help to improve the mental well-being of teenagers as they trigger the release of endorphins.

Mental Health

Teenage boy
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From mood swings to anxiety, low self-esteem, and depression, the mental health of a teenager is usually in an excited state. The World Health Organization (WHO) identifies suicide as the third leading cause of death in 15 to 19-year-olds.

13 teens health risks: What parents and teens should know

As a parent or teenager, to maintain and improve your mental health, you should:

1. Learn to manage stress: In this particular stage, stress is an unavoidable situation. It can, however, be managed effectively.

2. Balance: Find a balance between schoolwork and your social life. Put your best effort into your studies for a satisfactory grade, as this helps boost your confidence in your abilities. A scale of preference will help you organize your engagements and guide you towards putting more focus on the ones you consider important.

In essence, don’t try to do it all; this will only increase the pressure on you psychologically and even physically.

3. Maintain a good relationship with your parents: They have been in this same stage that you are now in, and they know better.

4. Watch your friends:  Beware of the cliques at this stage, as peer pressure tends to set in at this stage and can easily derail a promising teenager.

5. Stay away from hard drugs and alcohol: These are dangerous substances that can be abused and that one can easily get addicted to. Teens who consume substances face a significant health risk. It is not uncommon to see drug addiction become a habit. The effects of hard drugs are not only addictive, but they also affect your mental and physical well-being.

Retain frank and open discussions with your teen about the risks associated with substance abuse. Remember that children who witness substance use in their home are more likely to consume drugs themselves. Parents ought to lead by example and be conscious of their actions.

Teens are frequently immersed in the moment. In light of this, while talking about the consequences, focus on the recent and instantaneous impacts of binge drinking, smoking, or using drugs, such as impaired cognitive function, memory loss, discoloured teeth, bad breath, and acne.

6. Smoking and vaping: Teens who use tobacco still face serious health risks, and the rise of vaping has made the issue much more complicated. Both vaping and smoking have major health risks and can result in addiction. Discuss the risks associated with tobacco and nicotine use with your teens and provide them with resources to help them stop using them if needed.

7. Obesity and poor nutrition: Teenage obesity is on the rise and is associated with a number of health risks, including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, joint issues, breathing difficulties, and problems with self-esteem.

The primary feature of obesity is excess body fat, which is measured using a formula called the body mass index (BMI). Teenagers’ height and weight are determined by their BMI. The results are then contrasted with age-and gender-appropriate criteria for teens.

To assist your teen in maintaining a healthy weight, concentrate on making little adjustments together. Urge your teen to engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day.

Store fresh produce and fruits in the house as healthy snacks, and substitute sugary drinks for water. And remember how important it is to sleep as well; going to bed earlier can help you avoid being overweight.

8. Avoid violence or bullying: Acts such as bullying and fighting affect both the mental health of the perpetrator and the victim. Teens who experience bullying, especially cyberbullying, may suffer grave emotional and psychological consequences. Parents should establish a safe space for their teens to talk about any problems they may be having and be aware of the warning signs of bullying. Fostering compassion and understanding can also aid in the fight against bullying behaviour.

9. Mental health disorders: Teens are susceptible to an array of mental health conditions, such as eating disorders, anxiety, and depression. The impact of these illnesses on their daily lives and long-term health is significant. Parents should watch out for signs of mental health issues and, if necessary, seek professional therapy. Promoting candid discussions about feelings might also help teenagers feel more comfortable asking for help.

Teens dealing with mental health concerns are particularly vulnerable to social exclusion, prejudice, stigma (which may reduce their desire to seek help), difficulties in the classroom, reckless behaviour, physical illness, and breaches of human rights.

10. Self-harm and suicidal thoughts: Teens may struggle with intense emotions and turn to self-harm or suicidal thoughts as a coping mechanism. When a parent suspects their child is experiencing a crisis, they should act quickly to get expert assistance and watch out for indicators of self-harm or suicide thoughts. It’s important to create a space where teens feel comfortable sharing their struggles without fear of judgment.

11. Internet and social media addiction: Teens use screens for seven hours and twenty-two minutes a day on average, according to a study. Academic computer time is not included in this. Overuse of screens can harm one’s emotions and interfere with sleep.

Though they could constantly be present in your teen’s daily life, screens don’t have to play a major role. Set reasonable screen time limitations and urge your teen to participate in offline activities that foster in-person relationships.

During meals, turn off the TV and refrain from sending texts or using the internet. To make sure your teen keeps a good balance between screen usage and other activities think about instituting screen-free days. Plan electronics-free family activities like card games and walks, and make it very apparent that electronics are not allowed during this time spent together.

12. Reckless driving and accidents: Teenagers are more likely than adults to undervalue hazardous circumstances. In addition, they are more likely than adults to make errors that could cause serious collisions.

It is imperative for parents to underscore the significance of conscientious driving, implement secure driving practices, and establish guidelines and sanctions for imprudent conduct when operating a vehicle.

13. Sexual Awareness: With the onset of puberty, adolescent sexuality comes into the picture. As a teenager, you tend to have sexual feelings that could lead to acts such as masturbation and sexual intercourse.

It is important at this stage not to act based on hearsay but based on sex education from experts.

The consequences of engaging in a sexual relationship include the risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs), unwanted pregnancy, poor grades, and an overall loss of focus and confidence.

It is therefore strongly advised to practice abstinence or safe sex.

Photo credit: Canva

Being a Teenager or a parent to one can be a daunting experience. It is however an adventurous ride when the stage is handled expertly. It is therefore important to Consult a Doctor when faced with any challenges you may have concerning this stage.

The effects of discrimination on teens health

Distress on a social and emotional level

Perceived prejudice has been linked to a number of teenage social-emotional problems. A study also discovered that teens are more likely to report experiences with sadness, anxiety, loneliness, and stress if they believe they have been the victim of prejudice.

Risky health behaviour

Teenagers who experience higher levels of prejudice also frequently report participating in higher-risk behaviors for their health, such as delinquency, rage, and other externalizing activities. Substance misuse and dangerous sexual practices, such as unprotected sex and sex with several partners, are additional risky health behaviors.


Teens’ academic achievement has also been connected to perceived discrimination. Students with lower grade point averages (GPAs), higher absentee rates, lesser classroom involvement, and weaker academic motivation are more likely to feel discriminated against.

How telemedicine can help

The ideal setting and time to visit your teen’s paediatrician can be established through telemedicine. This is the time in their lives when there are a lot of changes. Scheduling a telemedicine appointment is an excellent way to receive well-being advice for the future. It’s advisable to seek medical attention as soon as something seems off.

Telemedicine offers the benefits of:

Flexibility: Since there is no travel time, appointments can be made to accommodate hectic schedules without requiring a car or public transit.

Convenience: Having a video or phone conversation with your anxious teen could help ease their anxiety during their appointment with the doctor.

Support: Your teen’s doctor could have a conversation with them about problems they have, like maintaining a good diet, focusing, mood swings, or more personal matters like relationships, sexual health, and possible substance abuse.

The security of the telemedicine visit ensures confidentiality. It’s not shared with anyone or recorded.

Independence: In a peaceful area at home or school, teens and young adults can have crucial one-on-one time with the doctor. You can assist your teen by setting up a discreet, peaceful area in your house where they can speak with their doctor.

Telemedicine is offered on the Kompletecare platform; just click on the link and you can access any healthcare professionals you need.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the biggest health challenges facing youth?

These are some frequent illnesses that are plaguing our young people more and more.

Mental disorders: Teens are more vulnerable to drug and substance abuse, which can lead to poor mental health, behaviour problems, and depression. The most common mental problems among teenagers are anxiety, mood, attention, and behaviour disorders. Suicide is the second most frequent cause of death for teenagers between the ages of 15 and 24.

Diabetes Type 2: Obesity is one of the primary risk factors for diabetes. Younger generations, even children, have much higher obesity rates than in the past. As a result, the way that many people spend their lives today contributes to the development of type 2 diabetes and obesity. We eat more calories, sugary drinks, and fast food while spending much too much time sitting down.

Elevated blood pressure: Though usually considered an adult condition, hypertension is striking an increasing number of teenagers and young people. Even though you are a young adult, high blood pressure can still harm you. High blood pressure should not be ignored, even though it doesn’t have any obvious symptoms.

Heart Conditions: Heart disease is not limited to the elderly. It is happening more and more often to younger people. This is partly because disorders that cause heart disease are emerging in younger people.

Heart disease is more likely to strike younger people who are fat and have high blood pressure early in life. The three main risk factors for heart disease are smoking, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

Lung Conditions: Respiratory conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, allergic rhinitis, and sinusitis are among the most common causes of activity limitations in children and can significantly impair an individual’s ability to operate.

The symptoms of both mild and more severe types of various respiratory illnesses include cough, wheeze, congestion, chest pain, shortness of breath, respiratory distress, and, in the worst cases, death.

Cancers: The three cancers that are most commonly diagnosed in teenagers and young adults are testicular cancer, Hodgkin lymphoma, and primary bone cancer. However, the incidence rates of many cancer types vary depending on age. Thyroid cancer and lymphomas are the most common cancers among individuals between the ages of 15 and 24.

2. How can a 14-year-old be healthy?

Consuming healthy food: Teens should start making their own decisions about wholesome foods. Encourage your teen to steer clear of sugary, fatty, and salty foods and to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. During growth spurts, calcium and vitamin D are crucial for the development of bones. Therefore, eat more whole foods that can give you the daily required vitamin D, calcium, and other essential nutrients for growth and development.

Sleeping: Teens require eight to ten hours of sleep every night. Lack of sleep is a widespread problem that can impair academic performance and sportsmanship. Teenagers desire to stay up later due to biological changes, but because schools start early, it might be difficult for them to get adequate sleep. Remind your child to have a peaceful nighttime ritual and to keep electronics and TVs out of their bedroom.

Exercise: Try to get in 60 minutes of exercise each day. Set time limitations for yourself each day for using screens, such as computers, tablets, smartphones, and video games.

3. What is the leading cause of death in teens?

Teenage deaths are mostly caused by five factors: cancer, heart disease, suicide, homicide, and accidents resulting in unintended injury. Almost half of the deaths of teenagers are caused by accidents.

4. What gender has the highest mortality rate?

Male gender has the highest mortality rate.

Male mortality rates for all age groups were 1,090.8 per 100,000 people, while female mortality rates were 965.1 per 100,000 people.

5. How can you take charge of your health as a teen?

You are the master of your own health. Learn how to maintain your health at any age. Here are 6 strategies to take charge of your health as a teen:

1. Give up tobacco: Smoking is the leading avoidable cause of death. If you haven’t already, give up smoking. If you smoke, learn how to give it up.

2. Manage health issues: Work with your doctor to manage conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. This includes taking any prescribed drugs.

3. Adjust your diet in a healthy way: Eat a diet reduced in trans-fat, added sugar, and sodium. Try to fill at least half of your plate with fruits, vegetables, and healthy grains.

4. Exercise: Make time to exercise for at least 90 to 150 minutes each week. You can even split the workout into two 10-minute halves for a total of thirty minutes of exercise per day.

5. Restrict alcohol use: Men should only have two drinks of alcohol each day, while women should only have one drink.

6. Obtain assistance for mental health: Taking care of the needs of youth experiencing mental health problems is essential. There are a number of approaches to managing mental health concerns, such as valuing children’s rights, avoiding institutionalization and over-medicalization, and prioritizing non-pharmacological treatments.


Affinity Health. (2024). 10 teen health risks: What parents and teens should know.

Centers for disease control and prevention. (2015). Mortality among teenagers aged 12-19 years: United States, 1999-2006.

Egbulem, K. (2024). The most abused drugs in Nigeria: Codeine and crystal meth.

Gavin, M. L. (2021). Well-child visit: 14 years.

Metropolis. (n.d). 6 common health problems in youths & teens they don’t know about.

Okeke, G. O. (2023). The main causes of depression and strategies for coping with depression.

Okeke, G. O. (2024). How to prevent mental health problems.

Statista. (2024). Death rate by age and sex in the U.S. 2020.

Wikipedia. (2023). Adolescent health.

Medical Disclaimer: KompleteCare™ aims to improve the quality of life for everyone with fact-based content about the nature of diseases, preventive care, behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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September 11, 2020 - 2:25 pm

Thanks for this piece

Osita reply
September 11, 2020 - 4:07 pm

True facts.. Nice piece

Tobore Peter reply
September 11, 2020 - 5:20 pm

This is insightful, I wish all teenagers around the world could read it….

Anita reply
September 12, 2020 - 5:08 pm

This is a must read for all teens

Ese reply
September 13, 2020 - 10:57 am

Kudos, great content and it should be taught to all teens.

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Oghenero Estella Godwin is a Content Writer at KompleteCare. She's passionate about designing, writing and learning new skills. Get in touch with Estella at

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