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The Importance of Well-Care Visits


Did You Know?

Moving through the teen years can be both wonderful and challenging for parents and teens alike. Many changes take place over the teen years physically, emotionally and socially. Whether they are in high school, preparing for college or working part or full- time, adolescents are making the transition to adulthood and independence.

Why Are Well-Care Visits Important?

Well- care visits give health care providers a great opportunity to help teenagers who are at risk for many preventable health problems. Counseling and treatment can help youngsters avoid or recover from a number of problems including addictive behaviors like alcohol abuse, smoking and drug use; eating or mental disorders; sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy.

During these visits the doctors have the opportunity to discuss nutrition, physical activity, peer pressure and safety (including substance abuse and sexuality). All of the leading causes of adolescent non-fatal and fatal incidents are avoidable and well- care services are one way for teens to get the help they need beforehand.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents leave the room for a portion of the exam so that adolescents may freely discuss confidential health issues with their health care provider. It helps to ensure that important health concerns will not be overlooked due to a teen's concern for privacy, and provides a "bridge" toward becoming an adult and handling health issues independently.

What's the Difference Between a Well-Care Exam and a Sports Physical?

Local high schools require athletes to provide proof of an annual physical exam in order to participate in high school sports. A sports physical is simply an exam that helps determine if it is safe for the athlete to participate in a particular sport. An annual well-care exam gives doctors a chance to perform a thorough physical exam and health assessment. It's also a good chance to address important adolescent issues.

What is BMI? Body Mass Index (BMI) is a specific measurement of weight and height that is defined as body weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared. BMI is gender specific and age specific because it changes as teens get older. During the visits, be sure to ask the doctor if your son or daughter is in a healthy BMI range for their age.

Would you like to WIN?

  • If your teen is turning 12-21 years of age in 2010 and receives a well-care visit by December 31, 2011, his/her name will automatically be entered into a drawing to win one of our featured prizes. If your teen has already had a well-care visit this year, his/her name has already been entered the drawing. Please click on the link provided below for additional prize information.

Learn the facts
  • Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CD). Using the BMI-for-Age Growth Charts, 2011.
  2. Healthy Families. Adolescent Well-Care Visits, 2011.

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