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Growth & Development

American Academy of Pediatrics

Bright Futures Patient Handout: 15 to 17 Year Visits

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Here are some suggestions from Bright Futures experts that may be of value to you and your family.

How You are Doing

  • Enjoy spending time with your family. Look for ways you can help at home.

  • Find ways to work with your family to solve problems. Follow your family’s rules.

  • Form healthy friendships and find fun, safe things to do with friends.

  • Set high goals for yourself in school and activities and for your future.

  • Try to be responsible for your schoolwork and for getting to school or work on time.

  • Find ways to deal with stress. Talk with your parents or other trusted adults if you need help.

  • Always talk through problems and never use violence.

  • If you get angry with someone, walk away if you can.

  • Call for help if you are in a situation that feels dangerous.

  • Healthy dating relationships are built on respect, concern, and doing things both of you like to do.

  • When you’re dating or in a sexual situation, “No” means NO. NO is OK.

  • Don’t smoke, vape, use drugs, or drink alcohol. Talk with us if you are worried about alcohol or drug use in your family.

Your Daily Life

  • Visit the dentist at least twice a year.

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss once a day.

  • Be a healthy eater. It helps you do well in school and sports.

    • Have vegetables, fruits, lean protein, and whole grains at meals and snacks.

    • Limit fatty, sugary, and salty foods that are low in nutrients, such as candy, chips, and ice cream.

    • Eat when you’re hungry. Stop when you feel satisfied.

    • Eat with your family often.

    • Eat breakfast.

  • Drink plenty of water. Choose water instead of soda or sports drinks.

  • Make sure to get enough calcium every day.

  • Have 3 or more servings of low-fat (1%) or fat-free milk and other low-fat dairy products, such as yogurt and cheese.

  • Aim for at least 1 hour of physical activity every day.

  • Wear your mouth guard when playing sports.

  • Get enough sleep.

Your Feelings

  • Be proud of yourself when you do something good.

  • Figure out healthy ways to deal with stress.

  • Develop ways to solve problems and make good decisions.

  • It’s OK to feel up sometimes and down others, but if you feel sad most of the time, let us know so we can help you.

  • It’s important for you to have accurate information about sexuality, your physical development, and your sexual feelings toward the opposite or same sex. Please consider asking us if you have any questions.

Healthy Behavior Choices

  • Choose friends who support your decision to not use tobacco, alcohol, or drugs. Support friends who choose not to use.

  • Avoid situations with alcohol or drugs.

  • Don’t share your prescription medicines.

    Don’t use other people’s medicines.

  • Not having sex is the safest way to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

  • Plan how to avoid sex and risky situations.

  • If you’re sexually active, protect against pregnancy and STIs by correctly and consistently using birth control along with a condom.

  • Protect your hearing at work, home, and concerts. Keep your earbud volume down.

Staying Safe

  • Always be a safe and cautious driver.

    • Insist that everyone use a lap and shoulder seat belt.

    • Limit the number of friends in the car and avoid driving at night.

    • Avoid distractions. Never text or talk on the phone while you drive.

  • Do not ride in a vehicle with someone who has been using drugs or alcohol.

    • If you feel unsafe driving or riding with someone, call someone you trust to drive you.

  • Wear helmets and protective gear while playing sports. Wear a helmet when riding a bike, a motorcycle, or an ATV or when skiing or skateboarding. Wear a life jacket when you do water sports.

  • Always use sunscreen and a hat when you’re outside.

  • Fighting and carrying weapons can be dangerous. Talk with your parents, teachers, or doctor about how to avoid these situations.

The information contained in this handout should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances. Original handout included as part of the Bright Futures Tool and Resource Kit, 2nd Edition.

Listing of resources does not imply an endorsement by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The AAP is not responsible for the content of external resources. Information was current at the time of publication.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not review or endorse any modifications made to this handout and in no event shall the AAP be liable for any such changes.

© 2019 American Academy of Pediatrics. All rights reserved.

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