Teenage Health

This page is about young people, with information about lifestyle, keeping healthy, and medical problems effecting young people.

If there is anything missing that you'd like us to include, please let us know. 


 What can we offer you?

A confidential service. You can book an appointment to see a doctor or nurse anytime. Anything you tell us is strictly confidential. This means that anyone at the practice, including receptionists, cannot divulge that you've been to see us. We will not share your problems with anybody else without your permission. Problems are often best discussed with your parents, and in the long-run, we often find things are easier if you do this. But the bottom line is, if you don't want your parents or anyone else to be involved, they don't have to be. Anyone over 16 can ask for treatment or advice without your parent being with you. If you're under 16 your doctor may still be able to treat you without your parents being present if it's appropriate.

Lunchtime appointments. If you need to see us during the day but do not want to miss school or for your friends to know you are coming, we often have appointments at lunchtimes.

Telephone appointments. If it is too difficult to come in, you may find it easier to chat on the phone. If you ring and leave your mobile number, the doctor or nurse will ring you back with advice on any worries/problems you may have.

Health problems

Sexual Health 

Contraception. Many young people see their GP for contraception. If you think you might want the Pill, you can discuss this with your doctor or nurse. We can also supply condoms free of charge, but if you are having sex regularly we recommend you also take a regular contraception, as condoms are much less reliable than other methods.

Emergency Contraception. It is always better to plan ahead and protect yourself. If you do have unprotected sex, without using a condom or being on the Pill, we can supply the "morning after Pill". The sooner you take this, the more effective it will be - it is best taken within 24 hours, but can be used upto 72 hours afterwards. It is NOT as reliable as regular contraception, and should only be used as a last resort. If you need emergency contraception, ask reception for a red appointment.

Sexually transmitted infections. Even if you are on the Pill, you need to protect yourself from infections. The only way to do this is to use condoms, which are available at the surgery free of charge. This is particularly important in Bingley, as we have a higher than average numbers of young people carrying Chlamydia. 10% of all people under 25 have chlamydia and no symptoms. You can get screened for this (male and female) by a simple urine test, without even needing an appointment - ask reception for a "BACS bag". If you think you may have a sexually transmitted disease, ask for a green appointment - you will get an appointment with Dr Rachel Dawson and can be checked for all infections.




There is a young persons drug helpline, ring 01274 745636.


There are two helplines, Time to Talk (01274 606282) and Off the record (01274 733080), both of which give advice and support to young people who are suffering with symptoms of depression.

Eating disorders

An eating disorder is a problem with how we think about food. We stop eating simply because we're hungry, and start trying to control what we eat. Usually it starts because we think we're too fat, and that things will get better if we weighed less.

Most of us feel this way at some time or other, but if it starts taking over our life or threatening our health and happiness, then it's called an eating disorder. It can effect young women and men.

The two most common types are:

• anorexia nervosa - starving the body to an unhealthily low weight.
• bulimia nervosa bingeing then vomiting after eating or taking laxatives (pills that make you poo more) to try to lose weight.

Eating disorders can grip people for years, making them unhappy and miserable. Sometimes they become so ill they end up in hospital. And occasionally, people die.

This is why you shouldn’t ignore any worries you have about yourself or your friends. If you think you or someone close to you may have an eating disorder, talk to someone you trust and see your GP. Don’t waste any time. The sooner people start getting proper help, the better their chances of beating it.

Keeping fit

Keeping fit involves eating the right things (see below) and being active. Exercise is fun, makes you happier, look better and feel better. It is also a great way to meet people and make friends.

Why should I exercise? 

  • I would be fitter and feel better
  • I won’t put on weight - burning off calories stops you getting fat.
  • You’ll keep old friends and make new friends - most exercise you can do with someone else
  • I will do better at my school work
  • It will make me feel less stressed.

 It doesn’t have to be ‘sport’.
Because actually being ‘sporting’ isn’t for everyone the most important thing about getting exercise is getting to exercise your muscles as much as possible in your every day life - like:
• Climb stairs and going down stairs instead of taking the lift
• Walk instead of going in a car or bus
• Bicycle to school, to the shops, to see your friends
• Run up stairs instead of taking escalators
• Volunteer for ‘dog walking’
• Increase the pace of your walking generally
• Swim regularly

That’s a start!
But if you are keen on sport – you do not have to be brilliant at it to enjoy doing some of the following with your mates:
• Playing football
• Going to the gym
• Hiking
• Dancing
• Skating
• Marshall arts



Teenagers' diets are important for growth and promote good health. People find the better they eat, the better they look - less flabby bits, more defined muscles, better skin! Good food choices are also important if you're into sport - the better you eat, the better you perform. A healthy diet will also leave you feeling happier, and your brain working better. During teenage years, a number of changes occur to the body that affect nutritional needs, including rapid growth and considerable gains in bone and muscle (especially in boys).  It is therefore essential to eat the right things, both at meal times and for snacking.

Teenagers often eat too much saturated fat, sugar and salt, and not enough starchy carbohydrates and fibre. The rising levels of obesity suggest many young people are eating too many calories. Vitamins and minerals are also often lacking. Up to 13 per cent of teenage boys and 27 per cent of girls were found to have low iron stores. Rapid growth, coupled with a fast lifestyle and poor dietary choices, can result in iron-deficiency anaemia. Teenage girls need to take particular care because their iron stores are depleted each month following menstruation. The main dietary source of iron is red meat, but there are lots of non-meat sources, too, including fortified breakfast cereals, dried fruit, bread and green leafy vegetables.

25 per cent of teens have a calcium intake below the recommended level, which can lead to Osteoporosis in later life (a disease that causes bones to become brittle and break very easil). Bones continue to grow and strengthen until the age of 30, and the teenage years are very important to this development. Calcium-rich foods should be consumed every day. The richest source of calcium in most people's diet is milk and dairy products, and you should try to eat two to three portions of dairy food each day – for example, a glass of milk, a 150g pot of yoghurt and a small matchbox-sized piece of cheese. If you're worried this will make you fat, try skimmed or sem-skimmed products, or low-fat - they have the same amount of calcium, with less of the calories! 

So what should I eat?

You are growing loads, so your appetite is likely to be naturally very high - you need high energy food. Your diet should be rich in energy and nutrients. Fast food, burgers, chips etc are high energy, but are the wrong form of energy, have too much fat, and often lack the necessary nutrients. Try to eat a variety of the following on a daily basis:

  • Plenty of starchy carbohydrates - bread, rice, pasta, breakfast cereals, chapattis, couscous and potatoes
  • Plenty of fruit and vegetables - at least five portions every day
  • Two to three portions of dairy products, such as milk, yoghurt, fromage frais and pasteurised cheeses
  • Two servings of protein, such as meat, fish, eggs, beans and pulses
  • Not too many fatty foods
  • Limit sugar-rich food and drinks

Other tips:

  • Drink at least eight glasses of fluid a day.
  • Eat regular meals, including breakfast, as it can provide essential nutrients and improve concentration in the mornings. Choose a fortified breakfast cereal with semi-skimmed milk and a glass of fruit juice.
  • Take regular exercise, which is important for overall fitness and cardiovascular health, as well as bone development.