Teenagers: How to Stay Healthy

group of teenagers laughing and giving thumbs up in a park

A person’s overall health is about more than the absence of disease. It’s the state of physical, mental, and social well-being. Ultimately, it’s the key to living a productive and satisfying life.

Path to Improved Health

You can break down the concept of health into different categories. These could include physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral health. There are things any person can do to stay healthy in these areas. But as a teenager, there are some things you should pay special attention to.

Physical health: Taking care of your body

  • Exercise regularly. Teens should be physically active at least 60 minutes of every day.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Healthy eating is an important part of your growth and development. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, a variety of protein foods, and low-fat dairy products.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Children and teenagers with obesity are more likely to have obesity as an adult. They are also at higher risk for other chronic illnesses, depression, and bullying.
  • Get enough sleep. Most teens need between 9 and 9 ½ hours of sleep every night. Many average only 7 hours. Sleep has a strong effect on your ability to concentrate and do well at school.
  • Keep up with vaccinations. Get a flu shot every year. If you haven’t gotten the HPV vaccine, ask your parents and doctor about it. It can prevent you from getting HPV and some kinds of cancer, including cervical cancer.
  • Brush and floss your teeth. Make it a habit now, and prevent tooth and gum problems in adulthood.
  • Wear sunscreen. Getting just one bad sunburn as a child or teenager increases your risk of getting skin cancer as an adult.
  • Don’t listen to loud music. This can damage your hearing for the rest of your life.

Mental health: Taking care of your mind

  • Learn ways to manage stress. You can’t avoid stress, so you need to learn how to manage it. This will help you stay calm and be able to function in stressful situations.
  • Study and do your best in school. There is a strong link between health and academic success.
  • Try to maintain a good relationship with your parents. Remember that they want what is best for you. Try to see where they are coming from when they set rules.
  • Develop a good balance between school, work, and social life.
  • Don’t try to take on too much. Limit your activities to the most important ones and give those 100%. Overextending yourself can lead to stress, frustration, or exhaustion.

Emotional health: Taking care of your feelings

  • Know the signs of mental illness. These include:
    • anxiety
    • depression
    • excessive tiredness
    • loss of self-esteem
    • loss of interest in things you used to like
    • loss of appetite
    • weight gain or loss
    • out-of-character personality changes
  • Pay attention to your moods and feelings. Don’t assume your negative thoughts or feelings are just part of being a teenager. If you’re worried about something, ask for help.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. If you can’t talk to your parents, talk to a favorite teacher or counselor at school. Find an adult you can trust. If you’re feeling really sad or are thinking about harming yourself, get help right away.
  • Accept yourself. If you feel like you have low self-esteem or a poor body image, talk to someone about it. Even just talking to a friend can help.
  • Don’t bully other people. And if you are being bullied, tell a parent, teacher, or other adult. This includes being bullied online or on your phone.

Behavioral health: Taking care of your safety through your behaviors

  • Avoid substance use or abuse. This includes alcohol, street drugs, other people’s prescription drugs, and any type of tobacco product.
  • Drive safely. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in U.S. teenagers. Always use your seat belt. Avoid riding in a car full of other teenagers. This can distract the driver and make an accident more likely. Never get in a car with a driver who has been drinking.
  • Wear protective headgear. Wear a helmet when you are riding a bike or participating in sports to prevent concussions. Concussions at a young age can have lifelong negative effects on your health.
  • Avoid violence. Stay away from situations where violence or fighting may cause you to be physically injured.
  • Practice abstinence (no sex) or safe sex. If you have sex, always use condoms to help avoid sexually transmitted infections (STIs). If you are a sexually active girl, talk to your doctor about contraceptives. If you can’t use contraceptives, use condoms for birth control. Even if you can use contraceptives, these do not prevent STIs; use condoms in addition to other contraceptive methods.

What might my doctor do if I go see him or her?

The doctor might do any of the following to help you stay healthy:

  • Determine your risk for certain health problems.
  • Measure your height, weight, and blood pressure.
  • Give advice about healthy lifestyle choices, like diet and activity.

Provide immunizations (shots or vaccines) to reduce your risk of getting diseases. These could include meningitis, tetanus, or HPV.

Things to Consider

Will the habits I have now really make a difference when I’m older?

Yes; 65% of all deaths in adults are caused by heart disease, cancer, and stroke. In many cases, these diseases are preventable. Many of the behaviors that cause these diseases begin at a young age. For example, teens who use tobacco are more likely to have heart disease, cancer, or stroke in adulthood.

At my age, what should I especially be concerned about?

The top killers of teenagers and young adults are car accidents, unintentional injury, homicide, and suicide. Cancer and heart disease are uncommon for teenagers, but can affect you at this age. Unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections can harm your health. They can also cause you social and personal problems.

Do young men have different health risks than young women?

Yes. Young men don’t wear seat belts as often as young women do. They’re also more likely to carry weapons, get into physical fights, use smokeless tobacco or marijuana, drink alcohol heavily, and have more sexual partners. On the other hand, young women have some special risks. They try to commit suicide more often. They also try to lose weight in harmful ways more often than young men.

Should I talk to my doctor if I’m worried about my health or my body?

Yes. It’s important to talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about your health or your body. Your doctor is there to help you.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor

  • What steps can I take to stay healthy?
  • Am I at risk for any illnesses or diseases?
  • I’m worried about a specific part of my life. What should I do?
  • I can’t talk to my parents or teachers about my problems. Who can I talk to?


Will Walking 20 Minutes a Day Help Me Lose Weight?

Woman Going Across a Bridge, Walking 20 Minutes a Day to Lose Weight

If your goal is a slimmer silhouette, walking 20 minutes a day can be a healthy addition to your weight-loss plan. Along with a reduced-calorie diet, 20-minute walks increase the calories number of calories you burn each day, which can add up to pounds lost over time.

As you get comfortable walking 20 minutes a day, you might find you want to increase your total minutes or walking speed for even greater results.


Yes! As long as you’re burning more calories than you’re consuming, a 20-minute walk can help boost calories burned, jump-start weight loss and meet your minimum recommended physical activity. But longer or faster walks will help you reap even more weight-loss benefits.

Exercise is even more effective when paired with a healthy diet. Download the MyPlate app to track your calories consumed and burned for a complete picture of your overall health.

More Reasons to Take a Walk

Weight loss isn’t the only benefit of walking 20 minutes a day. A brisk 20-minute power walk could cut your risk of heart disease by 30 percent, according to Harvard Health Publishing. It may also help reduce your risk of diabetes and certain types of cancer as well as potentially lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol.

Taking daily walks can also help improve your focus and enhance sleep. Even 10 minutes a day of walking can improve your sleep quality and promote mental alertness in your waking hours, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Read more: 20 Reasons to Go for a Walk Right Now

How Much Should You Walk for Weight Loss?

According to the Physical Activity Guidelines set forth by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), you should get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity like walking. If you’re walking 20 minutes a day, that adds up to 140 minutes a week.

Based on that minimum, you may wish to increase your total minutes on one or more days, perhaps walking at least 30 minutes a few times a week. Or go really big by doubling your total weekly minutes to 300, enhancing your results even further.

You can also boost the intensity of your walk by going up a hill, increasing incline on the treadmill or adding in short bursts of power walking, jogging or running. In fact, the HHS guidelines say you only need 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise a week or a combination of moderate and vigorous activities throughout the week.

Read more: How to Tell if Your Walking Speed Counts as Cardio

Calculate Calories Burned by Walking

The calories burned walking depends on the steps you take, the distance covered and your weight. The heavier you are, the greater the number of calories burned per mile. For example, an average 160-pound person burns about 105 calories per mile, according to Harvard Health Publishing.

A pedometer can help you track your number of steps and the corresponding calories burned walking for 20 minutes. Most people take about 2,000 steps per mile per mile and can walk about a mile in 20 minutes. You can also use an online calculator or app like MyPlate to estimate your calories burned walking.

Next, you can calculate how much walking you need to do in order to lose weight. To lose one pound of body fat, you need to burn about 3,500 calories, according to the Mayo Clinic. So let’s say your 20-minute walk burns about 100 calories. In that case, it would take you 35 days of walking 20 minutes a day to lose one pound (assuming no other exercise or dietary changes).

Boost Your Walking Weight-Loss Workouts

Walking 20 minutes a day or more is a low-impact activity that’s easily incorporated into your daily routine. There’s no equipment required other than a good pair of walking shoes!

To increase the number of steps you take and calories burned walking, seize every opportunity to walk throughout the day. Park farther away, take the stairs, walk to your destinations instead of driving whenever possible, and add a few minutes onto your daily 20-minute walk to boost calories burned.


Biggest Concerts of All Time

biggest concerts

1. Copacabana New Year’s Eve Concert 1994/1995

biggest concert of all time

Attended by ~ 3.54 million people

Location: Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Date: December 31, 1994 – January 1, 1995
Artist: Rod Stewart


The beach in Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana district is likely the most famous beach in the world. Various songs and stories were written about the 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) long beach and its promenade. Copacabana beach also proved itself to be an excellent concert location. British rock singer Rod Stewart proved that better than anyone else on New Year’s Eve 1994/1995. His free New Year’s Eve concert attracted a bit more than 3.5 million people that year, making it the biggest concert of all time.

2. 850th Anniversary of Moscow Concert

moscow concert

Attended by ~ 3.5 million people

Location: Moscow State University in Moscow, Russia
Date: September 6, 1997
Artist: Jean-Michel Jarre


Not only is Moscow one of the largest cities in the world, it’s also quite old. In 1997, the city celebrated its 850th anniversary. For this occasion, the city organized week long festivities. The absolute highlight then came on September 6, 1997 when French composer and performance artist gave his concert on the huge campus of Moscow State University. Around 3.5 million Moscovites came to see the French artist on stage. He was the only non-Russian artist invited for the city birthday festivities, but ended up being the by far most watched artist during the entire celebration week.

3. Copacabana New Year’s Eve Concert 1993/1994

copacabana new year's eve concert

Attended by ~ 3.0 million people

Location: Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Date: December 31, 1993 – January 1, 1994
Artist: Jorge Ben Jor


Before Rod Stewart broke it one year later in the exact same place for the exact same occasion, it was Brazilian singer Jorge Ben Jor who first broke the 3 million mark for attendance, setting the record for the highest-attended concert at the time. Ben Jor performed his free concert on New Year’s Eve 1993/1994 and 3 million Brazilians (and others) came to see him at Copacabana Beach.


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