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Top Threats to Adolescent and Teen Physical and Psychological Health


Young and invincible—that’s how high school students see themselves. The truth is, even the most able-bodied adolescents can succumb to injury and health problems. When you consider kids’ over-scheduled, high-demand, hormone-driven, electronically tethered, slice-and-soda lifestyles, the odds are not exactly stacked in their favor.
These and other factors “just set them up for a lot of adult diseases much earlier,” says Heather A. McGowan, MD, a pediatrician with Village Pediatric Group in Tuckahoe. She predicts we’ll see shorter life spans in 20 years or so as complications from high blood pressure, diabetes, and coronary artery disease take hold much earlier in life.
It’s up to adults to help steer teens in the right direction, but that’s not always easy. So, we called in some the pros: We asked several of Westchester’s brightest minds in medicine, psychiatry, psychology, and nutrition to weigh in on the biggest health threats to high-school-aged youth and how parents can help them avoid these dangers. (A word to parents of younger children: Take notes. You may be dealing with the same issues before you know it.)


For more from the 2013 Health and Fitness Supplement, click here.