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Bright Futures Patient Handout: 18 to 21 Year Visits


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Here are some suggestions from Bright Futures experts that may be of value to you.

How You are Doing

  • Enjoy spending time with your family.

  • Find activities you are really interested in, such as sports, theater, or volunteering.

  • Try to be responsible for your schoolwork or work obligations.

  • Always talk through problems and never use violence.

  • If you get angry with someone, try to walk away.

  • If you feel unsafe in your home or have been hurt by someone, let us know. Hotlines and community agencies can also provide confidential help.

  • Talk with us if you are worried about your living or food situation. Community agencies and programs such as SNAP can help.

  • Don't smoke, vape, or use drugs. Avoid people who do when you can. Talk with us if you are worried about alcohol or drug use in your family.

Your Daily Life

  • Visit the dentist at least twice a year.

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss once a day.

  • Be a healthy eater.

    • Have vegetables, fruits, lean protein, and whole grains at meals and snacks.

    • Limit fatty, sugary, salty foods that are low in nutrients, such as candy, chips, and ice cream.

    • Eat when you're hungry. Stop when you feel satisfied.

    • Eat breakfast.

  • Drink plenty of water.

  • Make sure to get enough calcium every day.

    • Have 3 or more servings of low-fat (1%) or fat-free milk and other low-fat dairy products, such as yogurt and cheese.

  • Women: Make sure to eat foods rich in folate, such as fortified grains and dark-green leafy vegetables.

  • Aim for at least 1 hour of physical activity every day.

  • Wear safety equipment when you play sports.

  • Get enough sleep.

  • Talk with us about managing your health care and insurance as an adult.

Your Feelings

  • Most people have ups and downs. If you are feeling sad, depressed, nervous, irritable, hopeless, or angry, let us know or reach out to another health care professional.

  • Figure out healthy ways to deal with stress.

  • Try your best to solve problems and make decisions on your own.

  • Sexuality is an important part of your life. If you have any questions or concerns, we are here for you.

Healthy Behavior Choices

  • Avoid using drugs, alcohol, tobacco, steroids, and diet pills. Support friends who choose not to use.

  • If you use drugs or alcohol, let us know or talk with another trusted adult about it. We can help you with quitting or cutting down on your use.

  • Make healthy decisions about your sexual behavior.

  • If you are sexually active, always practice safe sex. Always use birth control along with a condom to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

  • All sexual activity should be something you want. No one should ever force or try to convince you.

  • Protect your hearing at work, home, and concerts. Keep your earbud volume down.

Staying Safe

  • Always be a safe and cautious driver.

    • Insist that everyone use a lap and shoulder seat belt.

    • Limit the number of friends in the car and avoid driving at night.

    • Avoid distractions. Never text or talk on the phone while you drive.

  • Do not ride in a vehicle with someone who has been using drugs or alcohol.

    • If you feel unsafe driving or riding with someone, call someone you trust to drive you.

  • Wear helmets and protective gear while playing sports. Wear a helmet when riding a bike, a motorcycle, or an ATV or when skiing or skateboarding.

  • Always use sunscreen and a hat when you're outside.

  • Fighting and carrying weapons can be dangerous. Talk with your parents, teachers, or doctor about how to avoid these situations.

The information contained in this handout should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances. Original handout included as part of the Bright Futures Tool and Resource Kit, 2nd Edition.

Listing of resources does not imply an endorsement by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The AAP is not responsible for the content of external resources. Information was current at the time of publication.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not review or endorse any modifications made to this handout and in no event shall the AAP be liable for any such changes.

© 2019 American Academy of Pediatrics. All rights reserved.