It happens to everyone: PUBERTY. Although puberty starts anywhere from age 9-16, every teen will eventually experience the hormonal changes and subsequent body changes as well. With that being said, the subject of puberty is still awkward for some parents and most of the time it is a subject that a child/tween isn't really interested in discussing either.
But, the discussion of puberty is not only necessary for everyone, both parent and child, it is also one of the most important talks a parent will have with their child. So many of my patients, around 9 -11 years old, tell me they don't want to talk about growing up or body changes. In a few cases their bodies are already changing and it must be confusing if they haven't even talked about puberty, right? I know they may hear things from their friends, and many schools have puberty talks somewhere around 5th or even 6th grade, but that is often too late.
The biggest concern I have is misinformation. If a parent does not sit down and have the basic birds and bees discussion, their child may hear all sorts of crazy information. With all of the internet availability as well I worry that a child might search on their own and go to websites with too much information for the first discussions about puberty.
The facts of life and the male and female anatomy have not changed!! I think it is every parents responsibility ( I jokingly tell the kids that when they were born we parents were given a contract that says we HAVE TO HAVE THE TALK) to find the appropriate time to sit down with their child and begin the discussion of puberty. This is often more of an anatomy lesson and the biology of the human body. If a child has never asked about the difference between males and females (most have prior to this) then that is a good starting place. Many times questions will arise that leads to further discussion including sexuality.
Every parent know
Weve all read about, maybe even experienced it ourselves, children being teased, harassed and bullied if they are overweight. The heavier the child, the more intense the negative trifecta becomes. This topic often comes up when discussing classmate and peer bullying, but a new study also looks at obese or overweight children who feel bullied by adults in authority (coaches, gym instructors, teachers,) and their own parents.
Researchers from the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, Yale University, gave 350 teens that had enrolled in two national weight loss camps, questionnaires to fill out. The teens were questioned about weight-based victimization including duration, location where the abuse occurred, who the perpetrators were and what kind of abuse they suffered.
Not surprisingly, results showed that a high percentage of bullying and teasing occurred at school (64%.) Most participants reported weight-based victimization for at least one year (78%) and 36% were teased and or bullied for 5 years.
The teens also noted who was responsible for the bullying. 92% said peers (classmates) and friends (70%.) Then the groups switched to the adults in their lives. PE teachers / sport coaches came in at 42%, followed by parents at 37% and teachers at 27%.
The types of teasing and or bullying were verbal teasing (75-88%), relational victimization (74-82%), cyber-bullying (59-61%) and physical aggression (33%-61%.)
Looking at these statistics, the saddest one of all is parents at 37 percent.
What we see most often from parents is teasing in the form of verbal comments, says Rebecca M. Puhl PhD, the studys lead author.
Some of the remarks made to teens about their weight come from well-meaning parents who are actually trying to encourage their child to lose the extra pounds. But other studies have shown " and former teens who are now adults can verify " that teasing, harassing and bullying by parents and relatives can lead
Some teens are just blessed with good skin, and when you ask them what they do to their skin their reply is nothing. That is not the norm. Adolescence is the prime time for acne and whether the breakouts are mild or persistent, good skin care is the beginning for everyone. The first thing that all adolescents need to do is to wash their face twice a day. You do not need fancy skin potions or lotions either, the drugstore has more than enough choices to begin a good cleansing program. Using a mild soap- free cleanser may be enough to begin with , something like Purpose, Basis, Aquanil or Neutrogena. If the skin is more oily and acne prone try a cleanser that contains glycolic or salicylic acid , products like Neutrogena Acne wash, or Clean and Clear, you will need to read labels to look at the ingredients. These provide gentle exfoliation of the skin surface. Wash with a soft cloth but don't scrub or buff, just wash. After washing your face in the morning, always apply a gentle non-comedogenic moisturizer WITH sunscreen. This will not cause acne, but will prevent sun damage that we all get on a daily basis. This is not the same as applying sunscreen for a day at the beach or lake. Again, I like Oil of Olay complete, or Neutrogena but there are many others out there, so find your favorite. At bedtime, after washing your face, if skin seems to be getting break outs begin using a 5% benzoyl peroxide lotion (you only need a dime size amount for the whole face) applied after your face has completely dried from the washing. If it is applied to a wet or damp face it may cause redness. Benzoyl peroxide products come in several strengths and may be titrated up in strength as tolerated. If this regimen is not working well it is probably time for a visit to the doctor to discuss some prescription products. More on that another day. That's your daily dose. We'll chat tomorrow. Send your question to Dr. Sue!
Ask any teen if they'd like to be lean and muscular and most likely they are going to say yes. In fact more and more teenagers are turning to diet, exercise and protein powders to help them muscle up and lose weight. They are also using steroids and other muscle enhancing drugs in hopes of developing the perfect body.
Although boys most often use these techniques, girls are also turning to steroids in hopes of achieving more muscle and less fat.
A study released in the online journal Pediatrics, reports that 2,793 middle school and high school students were asked about the methods they used to increase their muscle size or tone. The average age was 14 and the students went to schools in the Minneapolis -St. Paul, Minnesota area.
The results showed that:
- 68% of boys; 62% of girls changed their eating habits.
- 91% of boys; 81% of girls exercised more.
- 35% of boys; 21% of girls used protein powders or shakes.
- 6% of boys; 5% of girls used steroids.
- 11% of boys; 6% of girls used muscle-enhancing substances such as creatine, amino acids, hydroxyl methylbutyrate (HMB), DHEA, or growth hormones.
The data did not indicate whether the diets were healthy or not or what type of exercise was adopted.
The findings suggests that "increasing muscle strength or mass or tone is an important piece of body image for both boys and girls," says lead study author Marla Eisenberg, professor of pediatrics at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine. "Kids really are seeing that as a goal."
Some experts on child health are concerned that kids are exercising, dieting, drinking protein drinks and using steroids not because they want to have a healthy physique but because they are trying to create what they think is the cultural ideal of the perfect body. Health and fitness are not their main objectives, looking a particular way is.
With an epidemic of adolescent obesity in thi
I take care of a lot of adolescent girls and many of them are involved in very competitive sports. As participation in organized sports and single sports year round has increased so too have overuse injuries.
One of the most common overuse injuries is a stress fracture which occurs when stresses on the bone exceed the bone's capacity to withstand and heal from those forces. Stress fractures have been reported to occur in 3.9% of adolescent girls, and 90% of those stress fractures occurred in girls who participated in at least 1 hour/day of high impact activity.
During my adolescent visits, I have routinely emphasized the importance of healthy diets as well as the need for calcium and calcium rich dairy products. Knowing that adolescence is the most critical period for bone mineral deposition, and therefore has been considered an important window to hopefully prevent osteoporosis later in life.
In a recent study out of Harvard over 6700 girls ages 9 - 15 were followed for 7 years to identify whether calcium, vitamin D, and/or dairy intake was associated with stress fracture.
Surprisingly, there was no evidence that calcium and dairy intakes were protective against developing a stress fracture. But, higher vitamin D intake among girls who participated in at least 1hour/day of high impact activity, was predictive of a lower risk of developing a stress fracture.
So, while a balanced diet including dairy products is important for over all health, vitamin D seems to be protective and lowers the risk of a stress fracture. The study did not look at vitamin D intake above 600 IU/day (which is the current recommended dietary allowance). Further research will be needed to see if even higher amounts of Vitamin D prove to be even more protective.
In the meantime, make sure that your adolescent is getting their recommended daily dose of Vitamin D and keep watching for f
New reasearch shows teen drivers risky behaviors increase with teen passengers in the car.
There has been a lot of media attention in recent years looking at legal cases involving teens and sexting as well as cases of bullying or harassment of the teen who's picture is spread beyond the intended recipient.
Teens and pre-teens may be puffing on cigarettes less, but they are inhaling pot a lot more. Adolescent marijuana use has increased in the last decade and that's not good according to a new study that suggests teens that smoke pot may suffer a considerable decline in IQ that lasts into adulthood.
In a New Zealand study, more than 1,000 adolescents who began smoking marijuana before age 18, showed an 8 point drop in IQ between the ages of 13 and 38. The average IQ is 100 points. A drop of eight points represents a fall from the 50th percentile to the 29th percentile in terms of intelligence.
As a part of the study, IQ tests were performed at age 7,9,11 and 13, most likely before any marijuana use then again at age 38. The decline in IQ was seen only in the participants who began using marijuana regularly before the age of 18.
Family members and close friends were also asked to complete questionnaires about the 38 year-olds. The questions pertained to any trouble they might have noticed about the participant's ability to stay focused, any memory loss or the ability to function socially.
The eight-point drop was noted in the subjects that were habitual users smoking marijuana at least four days per week. People who started smoking in adolescence but smoked less often still had a hit in their IQ's, but it was less pronounced than the group that used it early and persistently.
On the other hand, kids who never smoked marijuana actually gained one IQ point on average.
Madeline Meier, lead researcher and a post-doctoral associate at Duke University, said that persistent use of marijuana in adolescence appeared to blunt intelligence, attention and memory. More persistent marijuana use was associated with greater cognitive decline.
Collectively, these findings are consistent with speculation that cannabis use in adolescence, when the brain is undergoing critical development, may have neurotoxic effects, Meier writes
With college students heading to school, I was reminded about a story at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania, which is providing their students with the emergency contraceptive, Plan B, via a vending machine. Although at first this seemed like a different idea, the more I researched the more sense it made to me.
Plan B is a single pill that contains a higher dose of a progestin (hormone) than a regular birth control pill. If this hormone pill is taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex it can reduce the chance of an unintended pregnancy by up to 89%.
Plan B is available at pharmacies as well as many college health centers, and does not require a prescription, although the product is behind the counter. It is available to women over the age of 17 who show proof of their age.
The vending machine in question is not sitting in the middle of the student union!! It is also not in a dormitory, or in the gym. It is in the student health center!! The machine is also behind the counter as students must sign in and then be granted access to the treatment area. After going behind the counter a student may purchase Plan B (which costs $25) as well as condoms, pregnancy tests, cold remedies, throat lozenges etc.
This is no different to me than having a student walking across campus to their nearest CVS, or Walgreens to obtain the medication or condoms etc. Plan B is readily accessible if a woman is of age and can get to the pharmacy. The university is providing this service to their students only, all of whom are over the age of 17 and have shown ID and are admitted to the clinic treatment area.
The vending machine was put into place after a student vote that showed that over 85% of students approved of this idea. The students also felt as if this would help students obtain the medication
Larry Nash is honored with the Spirit of Texoma Award for mentoring kids on and off the courts and fields for many years.