DID YOU KNOW?
Access to regular health care services helps support healthy development in adolescence. Teens should have a physical checkup once a year and a dental checkup twice a year., Physicals should include immunizations, time alone with a clinician, and information about health-promoting (and damaging) behaviors. Most adolescents receive recommended annual physical checkups and at least one dental checkup a year. However, barriers, such as lack of insurance or trained clinicians, prevent some from accessing care. Adolescents with special needs (such as physical and mental health disorders) may have even less access to necessary health care services. The Affordable Care Act addresses several of these aspects by expanding primary care services to reach adolescents who are newly eligible for health insurance coverage. For example, preventative services—including yearly physical examinations—will be covered at no cost to families.
Annual Checkup Components
- Conduct physical examinations & immunizations
- Screen for physical problems (e.g., vision & hearing screening, selected laboratory tests)
- Record history & key developments since last visit
- Monitor development through medical examination and general discussion
- Observe parent-youth interaction
- Discuss the following priority issues and areas:
|Physical growth and development||Physical and oral health; body image; healthy eating
|Social and academic competence||Connectedness with family, peers, and community
interpersonal relationships; school performance
For ages 18-19: Job Performance
|Emotional well-being||Coping, mood regulation and mental health; sexuality|
|Risk reduction||Use of tobacco, alcohol or other drugs; pregnancy, STDs|
|Violence and injury prevention||Safety belt and helmet use; guns; bullying
For ages 11-14: Substance abuse and riding in a vehicle; interpersonal violence (fights)
For ages 15-17: Driving (graduated license) and substance abuse; interpersonal violence (dating violence)
For ages 18-19: Driving and substance abuse; interpersonal violence (dating violence, stalking)
*Source: Hagan, J. F., Shaw, J., & Duncan, P. (2008). Bright Futures: Guidelines for Health Supervision of Infants, Children, and Adolescents: American Academy of Pediatrics. Retrieved March 27, 2015 from http://brightfutures.aap.org/pdfs/Guidelines_PDF/18-Adolescence.pdf.
The Adolescent Health Library has additional resources on access to physical health services.