What to Expect During This Visit
The doctor and/or nurse will probably:
3. Give a screening (test) that checks for depression.
4. Ask questions, address concerns, and offer advice about:
Eating. Young adults should eat three meals a day that include lean protein, at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and at least three servings of dairy products or a fortified milk alternative. Limit food and drinks that are high in fat and sugar.
Sleeping. Young adults need about 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Poor sleep makes them less alert and cause problems at work or school. Follow a relaxing bedtime routine and turn off devices, including phones and computers, before bed.
Physical activity. Each week, young adults should aim for 150 minutes of moderate physical activity (like fast walking) or 75 minutes of vigorous activity (like running).
Growth and development. By 18, it's common for young adults to:
- develop a sense of self
- value individual relationships over peer groups
- become more independent from parents
- think abstractly to solve problems
- have long-term plans for the future
5. Do a physical exam. The doctor will look at the skin and listen to the heart and lungs. Young women will undergo a pelvic exam or be referred to a gynecologist. In guys, the doctor will check the testicles for masses and varicocele (swollen veins).
6. Update immunizations. Immunizations can protect people from serious illnesses, so it's important to get them on time. Immunization schedules vary from office to office, so talk to the doctor about what to expect.
Here are some things young adults should keep in mind until their next checkup:
- Make plans for the future, which may include college and/or work.
- Continue to pursue areas of interest, including art, music, exercise, and community service.
- Take responsibility for school and work. Lean on family members, a health care professional, or other trusted adult for support in areas where you may struggle.
- Learn strategies for coping with stress, such as exercise, meditation, or talking to friends and family.
- Be aware of signs of depression, which can include irritability, depressed mood, loss of interest in activities, poor academic performance, and talk of suicide. Get professional help if you're depressed.
- Make plans to switch to an adult doctor.
- Brush teeth with fluoride toothpaste and floss daily. See a dentist twice a year.
- Always wear a seatbelt while in a vehicle.
- Don't text or use cellphones while driving.
- If you're sexually active, use birth control and condoms to protect against unwanted pregnancy and STDs.
- Avoid smoking, vaping, drinking alcohol, and using drugs. Don't use prescription medicines that weren't prescribed for you.
- Don't drink and drive. Never get in a car with someone who has been drinking or using drugs. Instead, make plans with a designated driver or call for a ride.
- Prevent gun injuries by not keeping a gun in the home. If you do have a gun, keep it unloaded and locked away. Ammunition should be locked up separately.
- Talk to your doctor if you're concerned about your living situation.Do you have enough food, a safe place to live, and health insurance? You doctor can point you toward community resources or refer you to a social worker who can help.
These checkup sheets are consistent with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)/Bright Futures guidelines.Back to Articles
Giving Teens a Voice in Health Care Decisions
Involving teens in their health care can help prepare them for managing it on their own as adults.Read More
Helping Your Teen Decide What to Do After High School
Helping to prepare your teen for life after high school is one of the most important tasks you will have as a parent.Read More
Medical Care and Your 13- to 18-Year-Old
Regular visits help your teen's doctor keep track of changes in physical, mental, and social development. The doctor can also help your teen understand the importance of choosing a healthy lifestyle.Read More
When Your Teen Is Having a Baby
If your daughter is pregnant and planning to have the baby, many changes await your family. How can you support her through the challenges to come?Read More
Rules of the Road for Teen Drivers
When teens get their driver's license, parents should consider creating their own rules of the road beyond the relevant driving laws.Read More
Parents should learn about the most common STDs, how they spread, and how they're diagnosed and treated.Read More
Fitness and Your 13- to 18-Year-Old
Kids who enjoy exercise tend to stay active throughout their lives. Learn how to encourage fitness in your teen.Read More
Electronic Health Records
Because EHRs improve how well your doctors talk to each other and coordinate your treatment, they can enhance your overall care. This article gives the facts on electronic health records.Read More
Finding Low-Cost Medical Care
If you need medical care but don't think you can afford it, you're not alone. Get tips on finding low-cost or free care in this article for teens.Read More
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
You're probably used to answering your doctor's questions - not asking your own. But it's your body, so you should be able to ask your doctor questions about anything you'd like. Here are some ideas to get you started.Read More
Choosing Your Own Doctor
We all deserve a doc who helps us feel comfortable and understood – and who can guide our medical care in a way we need. Get tips on finding the best doctor for you.Read More
Your Medical Records
Each time you hop up on a doctor's exam table, somebody makes a note in your medical records. There may come a time when you need your medical information, so find out how to get it and how it's protected.Read More
Taking Charge of Your Medical Care
Figuring out health care is part of becoming an independent adult. Here are tips for teens on what that involves, and how to choose your own doctor.Read More
Your Child's Checkups
These age-specific guides can help you be prepared for and keep track of your well-child visits.Read More