[CDC Kids' Health] CDC Grand Rounds: Adolescence — Preparing for Lifelong Health and Wellness

Approximately 42 million adolescents aged 10–19 years, representing 13% of the population, resided in the United States in 2014 (1). Adolescence is characterized by rapid and profound physical, intellectual, emotional, and psychological changes (2), as well as development of healthy or risky behaviors that can last a lifetime. Parents have strong influence on their adolescent children’s lives, and family-based programs can help parents support healthy adolescent development. Because schools are natural learning environments, implementing and improving school-based policies and programs are strategic ways to reinforce healthy behaviors and educate adolescents about reducing risky behaviors. Health care during adolescence should be tailored to meet the changing developmental needs of the adolescent while providing welcoming, safe, and confidential care. Parents, educators, care providers, public health officials, and communities should collaborate in fostering healthy environments for all adolescents, now and into the future.

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