To help us understand your most burning questions, we got intel from HealthCorps, a national organization modeled on the Peace Corps that sends recent college grads into high schools around the country to help teens realize how fascinating their bodies are. HealthCorps mentors teach adolescents not only how to improve their bodies through healthy eating habits and exercise but also how to develop the mental skills and strategies they need to navigate day-to-day challenges as well as prepare for the future. The aim of this book is to provide you with all the information you need to thrive, to grow, to splash around in the pool of life and have one heckuva great time.
So what are we going to talk about? You mean, besides guys, girls, and sex? We'll also cover the questions that you most want answered: How to get more sleep and have more energy How to improve your memory How to improve the appearance and health of your skin How to figure out whether you're in love—and how to maintain great relationships, romantic and otherwise How to achieve your ideal weight and size How to improve your memory (gotcha!) How to keep from getting sick How to make decisions about drugs, alcohol, and other teenage temptations Plus a whole lot more
Pretty quickly, you're going to realize that this isn't your average school textbook. We're not planning to preach to you, lecture you, or wag our pointer fingers at you. We're here to talk. We're here to answer questions. We're here to make a few jokes. We're here to start conversations. And we're here to get you thinking about your health in a way that you just might not have thought about it before.
In each chapter, we're going to spend a little time explaining the science of your body, because in order for you to take ownership of your body, you need to know how it works. The human body is a magnificent symphony of organs, chemicals, and processes that control everything from your movements to your moods. When you understand how your body functions, it's much easier to keep it in good working order and to make any changes you might want.
After that brief biology lesson, we're going to spend the bulk of each chapter talking about what's important to you. We'll answer your most pressing, essential, and even embarrassing questions ("Exactly what happens during a pelvic exam?"), so that you can arm yourself with your most powerful decision-making weapon: information.
At the end of each chapter, you'll find our "Fantastic Five"—tips and activities to improve your health and help you understand yourself a little bit better. In the back of the book, where we provide an exercise program, teen-friendly recipes, and our twenty-five top health tips for teens. Before we get going, we do think it's important that you know a bit about how we view teen health. So keep these themes in mind as you're reading. The teen body is unique. There's a lot of health info out there about children, and a lot about adults, but not much about teens, who are in many ways different from both kids and grown-ups. So we're here to explain those differences and focus on the things most important to you, since your body is in this period of limbo between the two ends of the bodily spectrum.