Puberty can be overwhelming for parents as well as the child. “It is a roller coaster ride and the hormones control the steering wheel” humours a paediatrician. Physical changes combined with peer pressure, academic and parental expectations make adolescence an adventurous phase of life.
Health needs to be a priority amongst all things as puberty is stepping stone of adulthood. Everything that you gain or lose during puberty will determine how healthy the adulthood will be.
Early adolescent phase begins at 11 years of age and transition happens at 14 years of age with the onset of middle adolescence. Later adolescent years are from 18 to 21 years, marking the beginning of youth.
Puberty onset is different for everyone. It could be precocious and early for some and many are late bloomers. Two girls of the same age can have different pubertal spurts and it is normal as long as there is a growth phase.
Adolescent health is prioritized in more than one segment. Each category is of importance; to be monitored and intervened by the adolescent health paediatrician.
Growth Spurt: As the child enters teens, growth curve needs to be maintained religiously. Height and weight for age need to be graphed. Any deviation from the chart needs to be discussed with the doctor and the necessary steps to be taken. Excess weight needs to be checked for. Similarly, small stature for age should be investigated. Dr Nupur Gupta’s Team preaches “diet and exercise are of utmost importance for wellbeing during teenage” High protein, low fat diet rich in vitamins and minerals is emphasized and physical activity gives an edge to the growth spurt.
Vaccination: As the child attains 12 years of age, most immunization is completed. Yet, it is wise to evaluate with the paediatrician and consider any missed vaccines. Girls also need cervical cancer vaccination these days. Tetanus, flu shots can also be reconsidered.
Biometrics and physical measurements: The health care provider will check BMI of your teenager. Blood pressure is monitored according to standard norms. Anaemia, thyroid, cholesterol and Vit D levels are sometimes investigated by paediatrician in case of any concerning symptoms like weight or fatigue.
Psychological health: The pubescent years are most stressful as the child feels ‘all eyes are on me!’