Teenology 101

Eating Breakfast: Fueling Your Growing Teen

Guest Post: Lauren Mozer MPH, RDN, CD

September is right around the corner, and with summer schedules shifting back to school schedules, teens will once again fall into their busy student lives. In order to set them up for success, help your teens eat breakfast every morning.

It’s been long stated that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” but why is that? Research shows that teens who don’t eat breakfast take in fewer nutrients (such as iron, fiber, and calcium) throughout the day than their breakfast-eating peers. These nutrients are important for energy production, digestive health and bone development, and are typically not made up for at other meals. Read full post »


Teens and Sports

Sports: when a stress reliever turns into the stress producer
UW Nursing Student: Brianne Arnold

In high school I played sports, my friends all did, it was expected but I still loved them. Freshman year I played volleyball, basketball and finished it up in the spring with tennis. Some of the year I played select basketball as well. Juggling the sports, school and a social life was a challenge. However, for the first two years management was not a problem. I didn’t know anything other than being busy, going from place to place. I would do homework on the car rides, and make it up on the weekends etc.

Everything changed my junior and senior year. Suddenly, the standards for school were ramped up, expectations were exceeding my ability. The added pressure of doing all the sports that I had once loved became overwhelming. I needed to set my priorities or risk falling apart. Read full post »


Vaccine Update: Human Papilloma virus or HPV

Most people (regardless of gender) will be infected with at least one type of the human papilloma virus at some point in their lives. There are ~14 million new infections in the US each year and nearly 80 million people are currently infected. Infection is most common in the teen years and early 20’s. Most will never know that they’ve been infected.

This virus can lead to cancer. Each year an estimated 26,000 new cancers are attributed to HPV with 9,000 of those in men. The different types of cancer caused by HPV include cancers of the head and neck, cervix, penis, anus, vulva, and vagina. HPV also causes genital warts, which can lead to painful removal of warts and other complications.

The great news is there is a vaccine that protects against 9 strains of HPV most likely to cause cancer and warts. The vaccine is recommended at the pediatric well child visits between ages 11-12 years. At this age, the body makes the best response to the vaccine, which means that if it’s given on time, people will have the best protection against this cancer causing virus. Here are a few more things to know: Read full post »


Transitioning from pediatric to adult health care: post 5 Pediatrician perspective

In this post on transition to adult medical care, we’ll discuss tips and strategies from parents, providers, and family advocates for those who are starting to navigate the complex process of transitioning out of pediatric care and into adult health care. Thank you to Dr Raina Voss and Joy Gehner for their help in organizing the series.

As an adolescent medicine specialist, I feel comfortable talking with teens about many different topics. Our conversations range from gender identity to managing homework. Almost nothing takes me by surprise at this point in my career, but there’s one topic that I always find challenging to approach: transitioning my patients to a provider who manages adult concerns. Pediatricians develop long-term relationships with the families they care for. We watch children grow into young adults, support parents in raising their families, and get to know the intimate details of our patient’s lives. As teens emerge into adulthood, we often find it challenging to transition their health care out of our hands.
Transition sounds like a straightforward concept. As we enter adulthood, we stop seeing the health care provider who knew us as a child and move onto to someone who cares for adults. Read full post »


Intuitive Eating

Guest post: Holly Anderson, MS Nutrition student at University of Washington and

Leadership Education in Adolescent Health (LEAH) Fellow in Adolescent Medicine at Seattle Children’s Hospital

 

Today, the social and environmental influences surrounding food and body image make it increasingly difficult for anyone to have a normal relationship with food. Take those pressures and add to them the many variables of adolescence: confusion related to the physical changes that come with puberty, insecurities with body image and/or self, bullying, body comparisons, messages from friends/family, etc. Suddenly, it’s no wonder adolescents may feel inclined to make misguided or unhealthy changes to their eating patterns in hopes of changing their bodies. Such changes can result in disordered eating patterns, preoccupation with food, distorted body image, and/or concerning weight loss/gain.

As a future nutrition professional with an aspiration of working with adolescents, this is a topic I think about every day. How can we debunk nutrition myths and negative societal influences and instead encourage body kindness and food freedom? The best answer I’ve found is an extremely fundamental but important concept known as intuitive eating. Intuitive eating, developed and made popular by two registered dietitians, is a gentle approach to nutrition, which encourages attainment of a healthy relationship with food through learning to respond to our bodies natural hunger and fullness cues. Young children are actually the best models of intuitive eating; however, as they grow up and are increasingly exposed to diet culture, societal messaging about an unrealistic body ideal in our country, and the other influences during adolescence mentioned above, those intuitive eating tendencies can be easily lost in the shuffle. Read full post »


Important conversations to have with your teen about intimacy

Parents often ask me for advice regarding sex and reproductive health. Many times this involves speaking with me separately from their teen and informing me they found a condom in a pocket or their teen has been in a long term relationship and they think they may be sexually active. Most parents are worried about pregnancy, some are concerned about sexually transmitted infections. For all, I also bring up some topics that aren’t always as obvious, but are just as important. In this post, we’ll discuss important conversations to have with teens about sex and relationships in addition preventing pregnancy and STD’s.

With the #metoo movement that is sweeping social media and the convictions of sexual assault by prominent men in Hollywood, the medical community, and other areas, people who have experienced sexual harassment and assault are beginning to have a voice. Unwanted sexual contact by anyone (regardless of gender) is criminal. Unfortunately, our culture is full of examples where (mainly) female bodies are objectified as sexual objects in movies, commercials, music lyrics, and music videos. The message this sends to youth (and adults) is that the body of whomever we’re attracted to is there for our pleasure. It also sends a message that those who experience harassment and/or assault are at fault or should keep quiet. This needs to change!

I counsel all teens on the importance of consent and mutual respect in any relationship in addition to pregnancy and STD prevention. As more and more parents are pulling me aside to ask for advice, I’m adjusting my counseling to them as well.

Read full post »


Screenagers and the impact of digital devices on the family

I have 2 small children, but already the number of screens in my household outnumber the people! Though there are benefits to digital hand held devices (we use them for reading, counting, learning Spanish, looking up recipes, etc), my view is that nothing can replace the impact of face-to-face time interacting with other human beings. Maybe I’m old fashioned? I’m from the unique generation that grew up with computers, but also remembers a time before the internet.

There is growing body of research describing potential impacts on child development when exposed to media. This includes problematic internet usage, virtual violence, depression and mental health, and attention.

In the documentary Screenagers, Dr. Delaney Ruston explores screens and today’s teens. This documentary was engaging, at times scary, and very real.

Here are the tips I took from the film:

Social media impacts the brain –  dopamine release and pleasure is a normal function of the brain when seeking information and finding it. This is constantly occurring when we check our phone to look for texts, instant messages, and alerts on social media. It’s no wonder we can’t put our phones away.

No one can actually multitask – you can shift attention rapidly, but the cost is poor performance in what you are trying to accomplish. Read full post »


Staying safe using ride share applications

Ride sharing applications have increased in popularity over the past few years. Some of the benefits for the passenger include being able to hail a ride using an app rather than looking up a phone number (for a Taxi), no cash exchange (the apps charge your credit card directly), and viewing a picture of your driver and their car before they pick you up. For the drivers, they have the opportunity to see a passenger profile before they pick up a stranger, there’s no cash exchange (less likely to be robbed), and it is an opportunity to earn extra money on a flexible schedule. However, getting a ride from (or with) a person you don’t know can have dangers. In this post, a provider with expertise in sexual assault shares tips for passenger safety when using ride hailing apps.

Guest post: Julia Mitzel, ARNP

Some tips to keep you and your friends and family safe:

  1. Ask for the name of the driver when they pick you up. Although we have seen some cases where legitimate drivers have committed assault, there are also some perpetrators who borrow a car with a Lyft or Uber sticker or simply hang around places where there are likely people waiting for a car. If they are not legit, they will not match the name of the driver you are waiting for (or the make of the car).
  2. The driver should know your name. Do not provide it until they ask for the right name from you.
  3. Do not drink anything provided by the driver. I have seen a case where the woman was apparently drugged via the water bottle provided by the driver.
  4. Be assertive. Ask the driver questions. Make them think you have someone specifically waiting for you to arrive where you have asked to be dropped off. This is harder if you have been drinking, but certainly try to be alert.
  5. If something looks odd about the door locks, DO NOT get in the vehicle. Are they obviously broken, taped over, etc?
  6. Whenever possible, ride in pairs or groups.
  7. Take a photo of the license plate prior to entering the car. If the driver doesn’t like it, take another vehicle. You can also ask to take the driver’s photo. You can explain why you are doing it. If they say no, get a different driver.
  8. Text the license plate number and/or photo of the driver to a friend before leaving. These may serve as important evidence in an assault case where a phone may be lost or stolen

Time stamps, texts, calls, photos, etc. from smart phones have been instrumental in putting together timelines and assisting with prosecution.

Please be safe out there. Share this information.


What your teen should know before babysitting

Responsibility and Independence: The New and Exciting World of Babysitting
Guest Post by UW Nursing Student Michael Vaughn

Your teen may be expressing the desire to expand his or her responsibilities, skills, and job experience through babysitting. It is an exciting time, one I remember well, when hard work and energy spent playing with children is rewarded with the feeling of accomplishment from a job well done and money independently earned. Babysitting provides a flexible work option which can help your child’s confidence grow as they take on this new challenge and develop skills to use in future jobs. Read full post »


Transitioning from pediatric to adult health care: post 4

In this series on transition to adult medical care, we’ll discuss tips and strategies from parents, providers, and family advocates for those who are starting to navigate the complex process of transitioning out of pediatric care and into adult health care. Thank you to Dr Raina Voss and Joy Gehner for their help in organizing the series.

A young man with chronic lung disease

In this guest post, a parent shares their experiences both frustrating and enlightening, about being the parent of a youth with the chronic illness, asthma. Though this illness is well known, it is still complicated.

My son is now 20. He’s been followed by medical specialists since he was three weeks old, for asthma and also for treatment of the numerous bone fractures that he was susceptible to because of his medications.

People – even doctors – often think of asthma as something you’ll outgrow. But asthma is a tricky disease. In my son’s case, it didn’t seem to follow a clear path and we dealt with lots of misunderstandings and heartaches over the years, trying to figure out causes and treatments. On occasion, when he was extremely ill, we were referred for additional testing – but all that was ever identified was severe asthma. Read full post »