Other Youth Topics

Did You Know?

When it comes to the nation’s 42 million adolescents, there are many opportunities for adults to contribute to adolescents’ health and healthy development. The second decade is the time of life when bodies, minds, and emotions are changing and growing more rapidly than at any time other than infancy, and when guidance and interventions can really make a difference. During this natural transition to adulthood, adolescents begin to make more of their own health choices, from what they eat to how they spend their time — choices that can have implications for their short- and long-term health.

And although adolescents no longer need constant supervision, they do still need and even want support, guidance, and information from adults they can trust.

Individuals and organizations that care about young people are urged to join this effort and identify ways to promote the health and healthy development of adolescents.

Adolescents grow an additional 15 to 20 percent of their adult height, gain about half of their adult body weight, and build up 40 percent of their bone mass. The need for healthy nutrients increases, to fuel growth and build a foundation for lifelong health.

Adolescent brains are under construction into their early 20s. Teens' brains are still developing into their early 20s, which explains why teens may be more vulnerable to injuries or risky, impulsive behaviors than adults. Tobacco, alcohol, and drug use takes a greater toll on young, developing brains than on adult brains.

Teens need eight to 10 hours of sleep each night. Growing bodies need sleep, and changes in the brain cause changes in sleep patterns. Because of these changes in sleep patterns, teens typically fall asleep later at night and are more tired in the morning than younger children.

Physically, teens reach sexual maturity. Typically, girls start to mature in early adolescence (about ages 11-14) and boys about two years later, but normal age ranges for puberty are wide.

Though generally healthy, teens benefit from regular medical and dental care. Regular contact with health care providers means teens get routine preventive care recommended for their age and get screened for signs of any risky behaviors early enough that guidance and counseling brings benefits. Healthcare providers are another example of reliable adults who can help guide a young person’s development.


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Youth Briefs

How Individualized Education Program (IEP) Transition Planning Makes a Difference for Youth with Disabilities

Youth who receive special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004) and especially young adults of transition age, should be involved in planning for life after high school as early as possible and no later than age 16. Transition services should stem from the individual youth’s needs and strengths, ensuring that planning takes into account his or her interests, preferences, and desires for the future.

Youth Transitioning to Adulthood: How Holding Early Leadership Positions Can Make a Difference

Research links early leadership with increased self-efficacy and suggests that leadership can help youth to develop decision making and interpersonal skills that support successes in the workforce and adulthood. In addition, young leaders tend to be more involved in their communities, and have lower dropout rates than their peers. Youth leaders also show considerable benefits for their communities, providing valuable insight into the needs and interests of young people

How Trained Service Professionals and Self-Advocacy Makes a Difference for Youth with Mental Health, Substance Abuse, or Co-occurring Issues

Statistics reflecting the number of youth suffering from mental health, substance abuse, and co-occurring disorders highlight the necessity for schools, families, support staff, and communities to work together to develop targeted, coordinated, and comprehensive transition plans for young people with a history of mental health needs and/or substance abuse.

Young Adults Formerly in Foster Care: Challenges and Solutions

Nearly 30,000 youth aged out of foster care in Fiscal Year 2009, which represents nine percent of the young people involved in the foster care system that year. This transition can be challenging for youth, especially youth who have grown up in the child welfare system.

Coordinating Systems to Support Transition Age Youth with Mental Health Needs

Research has demonstrated that as many as one in five children/youth have a diagnosable mental health disorder. Read about how coordination between public service agencies can improve treatment for these youth.

Civic Engagement Strategies for Transition Age Youth

Civic engagement has the potential to empower young adults, increase their self-determination, and give them the skills and self-confidence they need to enter the workforce. Read about one youth’s experience in AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC).