Being a teen isn’t easy. Peer pressure, school obligations, family issues, and the pervasive influence of social media are just some of the challenges today’s teens face on a daily basis. Add in dramatic hormonal changes, and it’s easy to understand how many teens can feel overwhelmed.
Nevada Pediatric Specialists is a leading provider of teen health services in Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada, helping patients and their parents make smart choices about health and lifestyle. In this post, our team offers a brief overview of five common wellness and health challenges that today’s teens face.
1. Sleep deprivation
Sleep is a time when your body can rest, heal, and prepare for the next day. When your sleep is limited, those benefits are limited, too.
With teens, lack of sleep is even more detrimental, primarily because the teenage years are a time of significant development, both physically and emotionally. Lack of sleep makes it more difficult for a teen’s body to meet the demands of growth, taking a toll on multiple areas of their lives, including:
- School performance
- Social activities
- Peer relationships
- Ability to cope with stress
Teens who don’t get 8-10 hours of sleep each night can also be at risk for behavioral problems and accidents, along with chronic diseases like hypertension, obesity, and diabetes.
Unfortunately, sleep deprivation among teens is so rampant that it’s led researchers to label it an epidemic. Extra schoolwork, overuse of cellphones and computers, and late-night videogame sessions all play a role, but puberty also ushers in some significant changes in sleep patterns, as teens’ biological clocks naturally make them more wakeful later in the evening.
Nearly a quarter of teens are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and while adult obesity may make headlines more often, the dangers of being overweight are just as serious for teens — and in some ways, even more concerning.
Like adults, teens who are obese have increased risks of serious medical problems, including hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, asthma, and joint pain. What’s more, obese kids are more likely to face emotional health issues like depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem and to potentially have more problems building strong peer relationships.
3. Substance abuse
It’s tempting to think of the teen years as a period of experimentation with drugs and alcohol — just part of growing up. But teenage substance abuse can easily lead to a lifetime of abuse or addiction, along with other issues, like:
- Poor school performance
- Low self-esteem
- Problems with peer and family relationships
- Behavioral issues
- Legal problems
Even casual or occasional use of drugs or alcohol can interfere with normal brain development.
Although some drug use may be borne out of curiosity and a desire to experiment, many teens turn to these substances as a means of coping with stress at school, at home, or in their social circle.
Bullying is a serious problem among teens and adolescents, and its impact can be devastating. Kids who are bullied are more likely to suffer from low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, substance abuse problems, and self-harm behaviors. They also tend to have problems with socializing and to perform poorly in school.
Bullying interferes with sleep, eating, and other activities of daily living. Combined with the hormonal shifts during the teen years, being bullied can find an outlet in other types of violence. Many school shootings involve shooters with a history of being bullied.
5. Sedentary behavior
While many people associate sedentary behavior with adults, inactive lifestyles are common among teens, too. In fact, some research suggests teens spend an average of 9 hours a day using some sort of screen device, like a TV, computer, or cellphone.
In terms of teen health, being sedentary carries many of the same risks as it does for adults. That includes obesity, cardiovascular disease, depression, and diabetes, along with musculoskeletal weakness that makes it difficult to participate in many physical activities.
Care tailored to the needs of teens
Navigating the teen years can be challenging for teens and for parents, too. Our team is standing by to help your teen lead a healthier life. Call 702-457-5437 or book an appointment online with Nevada Pediatric Specialists today.