What Health Problems Do Teens Worry About Most
Results from the recent C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health identify the top child health issues U.S. adults worry about most. Not surprising, considering the nation’s growing waistband, exercise and obesity are at the top of the list. In fact, nearly 40 percent of adults taking the survey marked “not enough exercise” and “childhood obesity” as big problems. Rounding out the top five were smoking and tobacco use (34 percent), drug abuse (33 percent) and bullying (29 percent). For children, however, the health issues that are most troubling tend to be those related to physical appearance.
To help you better understand your teen and the problems that concern them the most, we have put together the following list. Read on to find out what you as a parent can do to help your children overcome these common teenage health woes.
Bullying is a big issue for children, and certain things like being overweight can make a child an easy target to be picked on or discriminated against. This makes obesity a major point of concern for teens, similar to adults. In contrast to adults, however, children worry about weight issues more for aesthetic reasons than for health and wellbeing. After all, no one wants to be ridiculed or made to feel as an outsider at school.
What can you do? Whatever your child’s reason for wanting to maintain a healthy weight, make it clear that a good diet and regular exercise are important for overall health. To help your child become more active, plan fun physical activities to do together and encourage them to participate in group sports. You can also them make healthy food choices, by avoiding foods at the supermarket that are high in sugar and fat. If your child already suffers from obesity, it’s not too late to help. Physician-led weight loss programs can be effective for slimming down in a safe and controlled way.
Almost all teenagers get acne, and it is a normal part of growing up. After all, who hasn’t had to cover up a pimple before picture day or figure out how to get rid of a blemish before prom? For some teens, however, acne is more than just a topical, one-in-awhile problem. It is a serious health issue that can cause self-esteem problems and leave life-long scars.
What can you do? If your child has bad acne that persists over time, it may be a good idea to make an appointment with a dermatologist. In some cases, treating acne with antibiotics can reduce the frequency of bad breakouts. Meanwhile, topical creams can be used to minimize redness and scarring, which is a major concern to young teens.
Though teenagers don’t face responsibilities of the same magnitude as adults, there are a lot of expectations for them to excel, and many children can’t handle the pressure. School demands, extracurricular activities, problems with friends, and issues at home can all take a toll on their health, causing them to break down. Stress can lead to anxiety, altered moods and changes in behavior – and it can even lead teens to make bad decisions that they wouldn’t otherwise make.
What can you do? If your child is exhibiting signs of stress, talk to them about what they are feeling and try to come up with ideas together to help lower their level of stress. If you think your child might be extremely stressed out or depressed, consider scheduling an appointment with a child psychologist or other qualified mental health professional.