Teen Guides to Health & Wellness Anxiety, Depression, and Mood Disorders Diets, Cleanses, and Fitness Drugs and Alcohol School and Your Health Sexuality and Gender Identity Sleep and Hygiene Smoking and Vaping Social Media and the Internet Suicide and Self-Harm Tattoos, Piercings, and Body Modifications

Teen Guides to Health & Wellness

H.W. Poole

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Copyright © 2023 by Mason Crest, an imprint of National Highlights, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Printed in the United States of America First printing 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Series ISBN: 978-1-4222-4419-7 Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4222-4424-1 ebook ISBN: 978-1-4222-7387-6 Cataloging-in-Publication Data on file with the Library of Congress

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CONTENTS Introduction. ...................................................................6 Chapter 1: What Is Health, Anyway?. ...............................9 Chapter 2: Chronic Health Conditions............................25 Chapter 3: Mental Health Challenges and Learning Disabilities..............................45 Chapter 4: What Do I Do Now?. ...................................... 61 Organizations and Hotlines............................................88 Further Reading and Online Resources...........................90 Series Glossary of Key Terms.......................................... 92 Index. ............................................................................94 About the Author / Credits. ............................................96

K E Y I C O N S T O L O O K F O R :

Words to Understand: These words with their easy-to-understand definitions will increase the reader’s understanding of the text while building vocabulary skills.

Series Glossary of Key Terms: This back-of-the-book glossary contains terminology used throughout this series. Words found here increase the reader’s ability to read and comprehend higher-level books and articles in this field. Research Projects: Readers are pointed toward areas of further inquiry connected to each chapter. Suggestions are provided for projects that encourage deeper research and analysis. Text-Dependent Questions: These questions send the reader back to the text for more careful attention to the evidence presented there. Educational Videos: Readers can view videos by scanning our QR codes, providing them with additional educational content to supplement the text. Examples include news coverage, moments in history, speeches, iconic sports moments, and much more! Sidebars: This boxed material within the main text allows readers to build knowledge, gain insights, explore possibilities, and broaden their perspectives by weaving together additional information to provide realistic and holistic perspectives.

The four years of high school are a time of enormous transition. Students enter as freshmen—still kids, more or-less—and they graduate as adults (more-or-less!). Part of that transition involves spending increasing amounts of time out of the house. All this time on their own means that teens start making more and more of their own decisions, and the questions they encounter seem infinite. Should I eat this or that? Should I do my homework now or leave it till later? Should I get in that car with my friend or not? Should I accept that drink at a party? Plenty of these decisions are trivial, but others can have long-term impacts on a young person’s future. The ten volumes in this set attempt to lay out the facts when it comes to the many types of decisions teens will make about their own health. Since school is in effect a second home to most teenagers, this particular book, School and Your Health , looks at how education and health can interact, and it offers some common-sense tips for staying healthy while at school, including sleep, nutrition, and more. One particular issue, stress management, receives its own section in chapter 4. Stress impacts almost every high school student at some point—dogging many of them constantly—and the health impacts can be very real.


Sometimes, unfortunately, a young person’s health issues are a more serious matter than simply getting enough sleep or a healthy meal. When a chronic physical or mental illness strikes, teens have to learn how to cope, like it or not. Chronic health challenges can impact every facet of school life, including academics, extracurriculars, and socializing. This book provides some basic information on the most common chronic health issues—both physical and mental— and offers advice on what to do when confronted with a diagnosis.

Since school is in effect a second home to most teenagers, this book looks at how education and health can interact.


Our physical well-being is connected to our mental and emotional well-being.


cognitive: relating to how we think correlation: a connection between two things proactive: describes actions that take charge of a situation quantified: counted


What Is Health, Anyway?

The concept of health has historically been understood to mean “a lack of disease or injury.” Consequently, societies have generally viewed medicine as a process of removal— ending illnesses, repairing injured body parts, and so on— generally getting rid of whatever obstacles are standing in the way of a person’s health. But in the past generation or so, our understanding of health has expanded. Rather than only viewing health in terms of the negative (not negative in the sense of “bad,” but in the sense of “absence”), we’ve also started talking about health in a positive sense. In addition to asking how we can eliminate disease, we’ve begun asking new questions: What can we add to our lives to improve health? What proactive steps can we take? This is why experts argue that societies need to put more focus on preventive care. Whether it’s vaccinations or nutrition, oftentimes the best way to stay healthy is to take action before illness is present. Being in good health is understood to mean more than “not feeling bad.”


Oftentimes the best way to stay healthy is to take action before illness is present.

Our understanding of health has also expanded beyond the physical realm. We now talk about mental health, too. That makes sense, because we now understand that many mental health issues are actually connected to physical issues; the condition of depression, for instance, can at least partly be traced to problems with brain chemicals like serotonin. Addiction has also been recognized as a disease— one with very different symptoms from diseases of the body, but a disease nonetheless. Over the years, we’ve come to understand that our physical well-being (the absence of disease) is connected to, and even inseparable from, our mental and emotional well-being.

Teen Guides to Health & Wellness: School and Your Health


Education and Health In 1988, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) created a department focused on young people and education, called the Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH). DASH compiles data on academic success and health, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, it has consistently found that healthier students do better academically. By “health,” though, DASH hasn’t limited its investigations to simply whether or how often students get sick. That’s a part of it, for sure. But researchers look carefully at a list of “health-risk

Students who take part in risky behaviors (like fights) generally perform less well in school than students who don't.

What Is Health, Anyway?


behaviors,” including alcohol and drug use, smoking, getting into fights, and sexual activity. Risky behaviors consistently have a correlation with how well students perform at school—that is, with how good their grades are. We should pause for a moment here and point out that grades are not the only measure of success at school. You can make a huge impact on your school by participating in extracurricular activities, for example. You can have a happy social life, and you can be a loyal and dependable friend. Those are forms of success, too. But extracurriculars and socializing can’t be quantified the same way that grades can. Also, given that the main “job” of a student is to learn, it seems fair to look at how much and how well students are doing that job—and that means looking at grades. What the DASH researchers found will probably not shock you. Students who earn primarily As in school have a low level of participation in high-risk behaviors, while students who earn primarily Ds and Fs have a comparatively high level of participation. Failing students are eleven times more likely to have used injectable drugs, for example, and are four times more likely to have had four or more sexual partners. Only about 4 percent of students who receive primarily As had been involved in a fight on school property in the previous year, as opposed to 21 percent of students who receive primarily Ds and Fs. High-risk behaviors also have a correlation with poor psychological health: failing students are twice as likely to report feelings of sadness and helplessness. The goal of DASH research is not to place blame on students who get failing grades. There are many factors that are out of students’ control that have direct impacts on how well they do at school. To take just one example, another

Teen Guides to Health & Wellness: School and Your Health


Students who earn primarily As in school have a low level of participation in high-risk behaviors.

of the findings was that 15 percent of students with failing grades had skipped school at least once in the previous year because they believed themselves to be unsafe, either at school or on the route they had to take to get there. Only 3 percent of students who get mostly As had skipped school for safety reasons. A lack of security—either at the school itself or in the surrounding neighborhood—is not the fault of the

What Is Health, Anyway?


students. But it is a real factor that many young people have to deal with. Rather than using the statistics as a way to place blame, the goal is to increase our understanding of the interconnection between education and health. As the CDC noted in its report on health and academics, “Leading national education organizations recognize the close relationship between health and education, as well as the need to foster health and well-being within the educational environment for all students.” Communities and Health An unsafe neighborhood clearly presents a problem for individual students, but it’s not just an individual problem, it’s also a community problem. Along those same lines, an influential medical journal, The Lancet , published an editorial in 2009 called “What Is Health? The Ability to Adapt.” The article urged readers to think beyond both disease-oriented and well-being–oriented definitions of health, and also consider health as it relates to communities. The authors also noted that human health can’t be separated from the health of the planet on which we live. “Human beings do not exist in a biological vacuum,” they wrote. “We live in an interdependent existence with the totality of the living world.” The authors had several things in mind here—one has to do with climate change, and the extent to which we can expect environmental problems to both increase and impact human health in the coming decades. They were also gesturing at the ways in which geopolitical circumstances can directly impact human

Teen Guides to Health & Wellness: School and Your Health


Some experts have urged people to think beyond both disease-oriented and well-being–oriented definitions of health, and also consider health as it relates to communities.

health. As an example, they noted a study of the severe health problems experienced by people living in the middle of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. In the occupied territories, the “dimensions of suffering, especially at the community level , are measurable and often severe. Science has not eradicated suffering, despite its enormous power to deliver technologies to improve health” (emphasis added).

What Is Health, Anyway?



These days, when most people hear the word climate , they immediately think of the Earth’s environment. But the word climate can have a broader meaning than just weather; it can also refer to the overall atmosphere of a particular place. Are people at your school generally friendly or unfriendly? Is bullying taken seriously or not so much? Are LGBTQ+ students respected or shamed? These questions all relate to the school’s overall climate. In a way, “school climate” is essentially an issue of the well-being or “mental health” of the entire community. The National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments gives three main factors to consider when assessing a school climate: • Engagement: What is the strength of relationships between students, teachers, and parents? • Safety: How well are students protected from behaviors like bullying and harassment, and how are these issues dealt with when they occur? • Environment: Are the classrooms and other facilities clean and well taken care of? Is the disciplinary system fair?

Teen Guides to Health & Wellness: School and Your Health


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