Child Health, Safety, and Well-being

 Physical and Mental Wellness for Infants to Teens

Last Updated: November 01, 2023
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Nutrition

Healthy eating is vital for growth and development for babies through their teen years - and ensures good habits for adulthood.


Obesity in Children

Article: ​Military health experts highlight need for U.S. youth to maintain healthy weight​External Link (April 2023)

A growing epidemic among U.S. children 2 to 19 years, children diagnosed as "overweight" or "obese"External Link can have mental health issues, may be bullied, and are more likely to develop high blood pressure, diabetes, and asthma which put them at higher risk for diseases such as COVID. To reduce child weight problems parents should encourage healthier behaviorsExternal Link and help ensure children reduce junk food and sugary drinks to maintain a healthy diet, AND get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each dayExternal Link


Teenagers

Society is full of opportunities for your teenager to make a poor decision that can affect the rest of their lives - or lead to death. What can you do? At a minimum, talk to them early on about risky behaviors to avoid and encourage regular communications, but also check in with them from time to time. Topics to talk to your teenager about include:

  • DrugsExternal Link and alcohol useExternal Link - lead to addictions, lethal overdoses, risky sexual behaviors, and thousands of severe or fatal accidents each year.
  • Unsafe drivingExternal Link - a leading reason for teen deaths, largely due to not wearing seat belts, alcohol/drugs, and most recently phone/text use.
  • Smoking and vapingExternal Link - youth nicotine use can lead to addiction and can harm the developing brain, impacting learning, memory, and attention.
  • Depression and suicideExternal Link - Extreme depression can lead a child to think about suicide; suicide is the leading cause of death in 10-24 year olds; being bullied adds to the risk.
  • Teenage sexExternal Link - safe sex education is important to reduce teen pregnancy but also to avoid spread of various diseases. 

Violence and Child Maltreatmen​t

If a child you know may be a victim of neglect or abuse, please help prevent these adverse childhood experiencesExternal Link. Click here for MORE information. 


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