16, 17 years (female)
Try to eat 3 healthy meals a day and make this a habit for life. Your performance in school and other activities and your ability to finish growing and heal yourself will depend on the foods you put into your body. You need 3-4 foods a day high in calcium (milk, yogurt, calcium-fortified orange juice) to support the completion of your bone growth and continued bone strengthening. Also, 2-3 iron-rich foods (iron-fortified cereal, meat, eggs, or green leafy vegetables) a day are recommended to support your blood. Fiber is known to prevent stomach and colon illnesses (such as cancer) and heart disease. By reading food labels and planning ahead you will have more control over your diet.
"Junk" foods taste great but can deprive your body of what it really needs and can put on excess weight. Try not to get into eating habits that will be tough to break later on, including eating on the run or in front of the TV. Make a point to eat with your family at least once a day. It's a good time to get together on otherwise busy days.
If you are unhappy with your appearance or performance, take a good look at your eating and see what you could change. If you eat well, drink plenty of water, and exercise regularly, your body will look, grow and perform at its' best. If you are concerned about your size or growth, please talk to your health care provider.
If you find that you need more sleep than you are getting, try to go to bed earlier instead of sleeping in; getting up late can alter your normal body rhythm and make you even more tired during the day and sleepless at night. Also, try not to save all of your "think time" for bedtime — it often delays falling asleep.
Always wear your seatbelt and helmet (when biking or in-line skating), even if no one else does. We see permanent, life-changing injuries resulting from simple accidents, and NO ONE thought it would happen to them.
Wear sunscreen if you are outside. A great tan is not worth cancer.
Take your body seriously. Make the decision not to smoke, take drugs, drink alcohol, or ride in a car with someone who has been drinking. Practice what you would say if someone pressured you. Delay sex until you are truly emotionally ready for this step. It only takes one mistake to change your life forever. If you feel you have made a past mistake, remember that you can always re-contract with yourself and make a better decision from now on. If you have questions about sex, HIV or AIDS, pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, drugs, alcohol, or tobacco, please ask your mom, dad, or doctor or nurse practitioner.
Introduce your friends to your family, negotiate your curfew times reasonably, and expect that your parents will want to know where you are (yes, they are still responsible for you). Earn respect and trust by demon-strating that you are responsible and deserving of the privileges you want.
Remember that driving is a privilege, not a right. Take this seriously. And in case you didn't know, Minnesota State Law prohibits all drivers under age 18 from using a cell phone while driving.
If you are in sports, make sure the playing areas are kept up well, and all protective equipment fits and is in good shape. Never share head gear.
Most teenagers are developing longer-lasting and more personal relationships with others. It is often difficult to balance friends, school, extra activities and family. Prioritize the demands on you, and try to sit and talk with your mom or dad a little every day. You may not always agree on things, but talking about your differences will help you understand each other better.
This age can also be a stressful time for teenagers. They can feel the pressure to look for the right college, hang out with the right people, dress in the latest styles, get better grades, get a part-time job, or develop individuality. The future can be an exciting, and scary, thought. If you are finding yourself getting stressed out more than you feel you should or can reasonably handle, please talk to someone. A friend, parent, favorite teacher or coach, counselor, or health care provider can offer support.
Social, Family, & School
Most young women have completed their "puberty" development by now and are at their adult height. Weight and clothing size will still increase as the body continues to "proportion" itself and strengthen muscles and bones. This is normal. It still may take a few years for periods to become regular. The guys, however, will probably notice body changes for years. Continue to respect other people's privacy. If you have questions or concerns about your health, body changes or sexuality, please ask your mom or dad or your health care provider here.
We look forward to seeing you again for a check-up next year!