Reinforce healthy messages with teen patients

Reinforce healthy messages with teen patients

Two national observances this month offer doctors an ideal chance for discussing germane health issues among teen patients, while also reinforcing optometry's role in curbing unhealthy behaviors.

AOA members can find valuable links, information and resources to use in their practice this month and beyond.

May is both National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, sponsored by the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition and dedicated to encouraging physical activity to improve overall wellbeing, as well as Clean Air Month, sponsored by the American Lung Association® and dedicated to improving the nation's air quality.

As schools participate in programs such as the President's Challenge or Let's Move! initiative, and media coverage is devoted to clean air campaigns, the national attention primes exam-room conversations for teenage patients about sports vision and the effects of smoking on eye health.

And to help capitalize on this open dialogue, AOA members can find valuable links, information and resources to use in their practice this month and beyond.

AOA member resources to reach patients
Not only has the prevalence of youth obesity tripled since the 1970s, but just 1 in 3 children are physically active each day, according to studies. As schools step up physical fitness programs and encourage sports participation, it's important to educate young patients and their families about the importance of sports eye safety.

Take advantage of these online member resources about sports vision and safety, including:

Also, click here to find more information about becoming a member of the AOA Sports Vision Section.

Although the number of younger Americans who smoke has been trending downward since the late '90s, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still estimates more than 1 in 5 high school students use tobacco. Considering about 25 percent of contact lens wearers are under the age of 24—correlated with the age at which people first consider smoking—there's an opportunity for optometrists to help dissuade tobacco use.

In addition to smoking's link with eye diseases such as macular degeneration or cataract, smoke is an eye irritant, and the tar and nicotine buildup on fingers can contaminate contact lenses. The AOA offers members information to help educate patients, including:

Click here to find more public education and campaign materials to help community outreach efforts.

May 4, 2015

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