For Young People

If you are between 10-24, your days are never the same. Each day can have many different life events.

  • You may be in school and school-related activities.
  • You may volunteer.
  • You may have a job.
  • You may be busy keeping up with the lives of your friends.
  • You may even be in a relationship with someone special.

You may also be facing other challenges in your everyday life.  At the same time, you are growing, living life and learning more about who you are. You are deciding who you want to be.


Most youth are generally healthy. Some important health and social issues may start during these years.  

Examples include:

  Motor vehicle accidents
  Mental Health challenges
  Substance use
  Nutrition and weight conditions
  Sexually transmitted infections, including HIV
  Teen and unintended pregnancies
  Academic problems and dropping out of school 

Emerging Issues in Adolescent and Young Adult Health:

Three issues can influence the health of adolescents:

  • This population is diverse. There are increases in the numbers of Latino and Asian American youth. The growing ethnic diversity will need cultural awareness to health care needs.
  • Mental health has an intense impact on physical health, academic achievement, and well-being. About 50% of mental disorders begin by age 14 and 75% begin by age 24.
  • Positive youth development (PYD) interventions provides all youth with:
    • support,
    • relationships,
    • experiences,
    • resources, and
    • opportunities needed to become competent, thriving adults.

PYD is growing and helps prevent health risk behaviors. Evidence shows that well-designed PYD interventions can lead to positive outcomes. Visit the Texas Youth Action Network for more information.

Why Is Health Important?

During the teen years, there are body changes and skills like independent activities. Young adults over 18 also face social and economic challenges. They have to take on adult issues but there are few system supports.  

There are significant disparities in outcomes among racial and ethnic groups. African Americans, American Indians, and Latinos struggle with obesity, unintended pregnancy, tooth decay, and education.    

The leading causes of illness and death among adolescents are preventable. Health outcomes are behavior-related and linked to many social factors. The following examples can help:  


  • Youth who have a good bond with a caring adult are less likely to engage in risky behaviors.
  • Parents involved in their teen’s activities provide a safe way to explore the world.
  • Children in poverty may be at higher risk for some health conditions and have a poorer health status. They have less access to and use of health care services.


  • Student health affects school achievement. Healthy students are more effective learners.
  • Academic success and achievement can predict overall adult health outcomes.
  • High school graduation leads to lower rates of health problems and risk of jail. It offers better financial stability and socio-emotional well-being during adulthood.
  • School can affect attendance, academics, learning, graduation, social relationships, behavior, and mental health.


  • Adolescents in distressed neighborhoods are at risk for exposure to violence. Negative outcomes include poor physical and mental health, delinquency, and risky sexual behavior.    

You will find a lot of great websites with tools and information to help you get healthy and stay healthy.


Some examples can be found on the following websites:  

Always check with an adult to be sure the website is real and safe. 

Most important - have a caring and trusted adult in your life. This can be a parent, a relative, a teacher, a neighbor, or any adult that you trust. Young people who have support will connect with their community. They will connect with school and learning. They lead healthier lives.   

For more information, please contact us at:

Texas Department of State Health Services
Maternal & Child Health
PO Box 149347, Mail Code 1922
Austin, TX 78714-9347
(512) 776-7373: Phone
(512) 458-7658: Fax


External links to other sites are intended to be informational and do not have the endorsement of the Texas Department of State Health Services. These external links may not be accessible to persons with disabilities. For more information about Maternal and Child Health or information regarding adolescent health in Texas, please email or call (512) 776-7373.

Last updated August 20, 2021