Physical Health in Developing Adolescents

Health Care Transitions

Each young person’s situation is unique, but a well-timed transition from pediatric health care to adult primary health care ought to occur between ages 18 and 21. Planning for health care transition should begin earlier, at around age 12. Support a successful health care transition with Got Transition® resources for youth and young adults as well as their families and health care professionals.

Adolescence is a good time for youth to start taking more responsibility for their physical health. They can learn to make healthy food choices, be active, and engage in their own health care. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (2nd Edition) recommends that adolescents get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Social support has been consistently and positively related to regular physical activity, and family and community engagement can increase physical activity for adolescents. As adolescents make more choices about their health, it’s important for them to learn healthy eating habits, like drinking enough water and eating enough fruits and vegetables. Adolescents, including those who have chronic conditions, can learn how to manage their own health and parents and caretakers can support this by providing education, skills training, and coaching in how to solve problems. The following sections provide a detailed look at adolescent physical health and related resources.

  • Clinical Preventive Services: Learn about the importance of clinical preventive services and how adolescents can be involved in their health care.
  • Healthy Behavior: Discover how behaviors like good nutrition, physical activity, and staying on schedule with vaccines support health for adolescents into adulthood.
  • Youth with Chronic Conditions and Disabilities: Learn about the health care needs of youth with chronic conditions and disabilities and supports for these youth and their families.

To learn more about physical changes that occur during adolescence, see Adolescent Development Explained: Physical Development.