Child Health, Safety, and Well-being

 Physical and Mental Wellness for Infants to Teens

Last Updated: February 05, 2021
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Healthy Nutrition

Good nutrition (including breastfeeding) during the first 2 years of life (birth to 24 months External Link) is vital for healthy growth and development. But good nutrition should not stop there - healthy eating among children and teens needs to be encouraged to avoid a variety of health problems - and ensure good habits for adulthood.

Obesity in Children

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 behaviors External 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 day External 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:

  • Drugs External Link and alcohol use External Link - lead to addictions, lethal overdoses, risky sexual behaviors, and thousands of severe or fatal accidents each year.
  • Unsafe driving External Link - a leading reason for teen deaths, largely due to not wearing seat belts, alcohol/drugs, and most recently phone/text use.
  • Smoking and vaping External Link - nicotine has caused more deaths than any other substance, new forms (e-cigarettes, vaping) contain additional toxic chemicals.
  • Depression and suicide External Link - hormonal changes make teenagers vulnerable, suicide is leading cause of death in 10-24 year olds; being bullied adds to the risk.
  • Teenage sex External Link - safe sex education is important to reduce teen pregnancy but also to avoid spread of various diseases.

Violence and Child Maltreatment

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