Why are annual Well-Child visits important for adolescents?

We know we should visit the doctor when we feel ill, but regular Well-Child exams are just as important for healthy children. Adolescence is one of the most important periods of development. Children want more independence from parents and guardians, and this period often calls for a different approach to health care.

Regular visits create strong, trustworthy relationships among medical providers. As your medical home we would like to establish this partnership. We can help coordinate specialty care, educational services, in and out of home care, family support, and other community services that are important to the overall health of your child and family.

Most adolescents enjoy good health however the leading causes of death among adolescents (unintentional injury, homicide and suicide) are largely preventable. During this period of development, youth begin to make their own decisions regarding relationships, lifestyle and health behaviors.

Health behaviors established in adolescence tend to persist into adulthood, and many chronic diseases first emerge in this age.

    Half of all lifetime cases of mental health diagnoses first begin by age 14
    Youth who begin drinking at age 14 or younger are 4-5 times more likely to develop substance abuse over their lifetime compared to someone who started at 19.
    Youth who are overweight tend to become obese as adults.

Data from Oregon Healthy Teens Survey, a statewide health survey among 8th and 11th graders, indicates that some youth engage in behaviors that could put their immediate and long term health in jeopardy (See Table 1).


Among 11th graders in Oregon:

Further, high school graduation- a milestone of this developmental period is a strong predictor of lifelong health and stability, allowing for post-secondary education, military services, or the workforce. Students who are physically and emotionally well are better learners.

Annual well-visits deliver screening, guidance, and health education to support healthy development now, and in the future. It is an important opportunity to identify health conditions that commonly arise in this period early, such as mental health diagnoses and substance use issues.

Well Child Exams will review:

Additionally, annual well visits provide a training ground for youth to learn and navigate the health care system. We encourage you to schedule these important exams. We look forward to seeing you.

With warmest regards,

The South Hilyard Clinic staff

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