Adolescents

Adolescent Health Checklist

Annual wellness visits are recommended for all adolescents.  In addition to the history and exam, these visits may include lab work based on risk factors.  Research is showing that diseases of older age such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes actually begin in childhood.  Childhood obesity is mostly due to poor nutrition and lifestyle choices.  70% of children with elevated cholesterol in childhood continue to have elevated levels in young adulthood.  An obese teen with one overweight parent has an 80% chance of being an obese adult.

What is an annual wellness visit?

Annual wellness visits during the adolescent years are an important step in educating your adolescent to take responsibility for their own health.  In addition to an age appropriate physical exam, visits will focus on health promotion and age appropriate counseling and teaching.  Adolescents will be encouraged to speak openly with the healthcare provider without their parent present when discussing more personal issues.

What is a sports physical?

Sports physicals are required by schools for participation in organized sports.  These physicals focus mainly on physical exam, pertinent past and present medical history, and screening for possible safety issues. Sports physicals should not be used as a replacement for the annual wellness visit.  Sports physicals are usually not covered by insurance.

Recommendations

Early Adolescent (12 years to 14 years)

  • Physical-Every year
  • Tetanus or Tdap immunization
  • HPV immunizations (optional) - Series of 3 injections
  • Meningococcal immunization (optional)
  • Age appropriate counseling

Middle Adolescent (15 years to 18 years)

  • Physical-Every year
  • Immunization update
  • Age appropriate counseling

Late Adolescent (19 years to 21 years)

  • Physical-Every year
  • Appropriate male or female exams and testing
  • Glucose-Every 5 years
  • Cholesterol-Every 5 years
  • Immunization update
  • Age appropriate counseling
  • Immunizations

Vaccines are not just for infants and children. As kids get older, protection provided by some childhood vaccines can begin to wear off.  Kids can also develop risks for more diseases as they enter their pre-teen years. Vaccines for pre-teens and teens are optional but are recommended by the CDC.

Parents may want to consider the following immunizations for pre-teens & teens:

  • Meningococcal (meningitis)
  • Pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Influenza (flu)
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)

Parents may want to consider the following immunizations for teens going away to college:

  • Meningococcal (meningitis)
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis (Tdap)
  • Influenza (flu)

As with any medical procedure, vaccination has some risks as well as substantial, proven benefits. Individuals react differently to vaccines, and there is no way to absolutely predict the reaction of a specific individual to a particular vaccine. Anyone who takes a vaccine should be fully informed about both the benefits and the risks of vaccination. Any questions or concerns should be discussed with a physician or other healthcare provider.

For immunization information, information sheets, recommended immunizations based on age, and reporting of side effects to vaccines see the following web sites: