The authors of "YOU" will host a live Q&A just for teens tonight, June 7, from 7-8pm, EDT. Visit DoctorOz.com for more details and to join the discussion.
Drs. Michael Roizen, Mehmet Oz and Ellen Rome help teens figure out what is happening to their bodies in "YOU: The Owner's Manual for Teens: A Guide to a Healthy Body and Happy Life." The approachable book tackles physical and emotional health issues such as acne, sweating and sex, which influences decision-making.
Read an excerpt from "YOU: The Owner's Manual for Teens: A Guide to a Healthy Body and Happy Life" below, then check out some other books in the "GMA" library.
If we gave you three minutes to scribble down a list of the most important things in your life, we suspect you'd pop in your earbuds, dial up some of your favorite music, and scratch down a few answers that look something like this: Your friends and family The boy or girl you like Having cool clothes School Making it through your math test tomorrow Staying zit free Making the soccer team Unlimited texting plans
Excellent list. No quibbles from us whatsoever. Though the specifics may change from person to person, there's no doubt that your priorities—relationships, performance, appearance—are the priorities of virtually everybody else your age. But if you'd allow us to make a small adjustment to whatever list you came up with, we'd like to squeeze in one more word: You.
Chances are, you think that you—and all the things that make up you, like your health—are about as sexy a topic as the history of the pencil, but we're here to flip that notion upside its head, beat it with a stethoscope, and show you something you may never have thought of before: Your body is the vehicle you need to fulfill every wish that you have, and keeping it healthy will make it more likely that you'll succeed in fulfilling those wishes. What we're talking about here is more than just the bodily functions that you may normally associate with the word health.
When we talk about health, we mean your brain, your relationships, your feelings, your identity, and your mood, as well as those bodily functions—all the things that make you feel the way you feel, think the way you think, and act the way you act. Take a few minutes each day to focus on the health of your body and mind, and you'll be raring to go after what you want in life—whether it's having great relationships, getting into a college you want, or following your dreams to become the next Beyoncé, the next Peyton Manning, the next Chris Rock, the next J. K. Rowling, the next Steve Jobs, the next great teacher, software engineer, doctor, parent, or whatever it is you want to be.
This book is going to answer three big questions: Am I normal? Am I liked/ loved? Who am I? What may surprise you is that each one of those questions (and the many answers that come with them) has everything to do with your health.
Your health is about becoming you.
Rest assured: We're not here to preach to you about the dangers of getting heart disease down the road or how to make sure that you don't need a hip replacement when you're a grandparent. We're here to talk to you about your body, your issues, and your questions—the stuff that concerns you today. The great side effect, of course, is that taking control of your body now will give you the foundation for leading a long and healthy life.
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.
Simplicity rules. Some of you may need health overhauls, yes; you may just need tweaks and nudges in the right direction. (And even if you do need overhauls, tweaks and nudges are the way to start.) Healthy living doesn't have to be hard; in fact, it's pretty easy once you know the basics. We'll steer you in the right direction. The truth is that it takes only two weeks for a behavior to become a habit, so if you do want to make changes, you can. And it's simpler than you think.
Good health comes from good decisions. Almost all positive health characteristics—from white teeth to a fit physique—stem from making smart decisions. Likewise, the reverse can also be true. As you'll learn, the teen brain isn't completely wired to make rational decisions. That's because at this age, the emotional centers of your brain are on full throttle, sometimes overriding logic and common sense. So we're not blaming you for taking risks or experimenting, but we will show you that much of your health is within your own hands if you make wise choices.
You have rights. Now is the time when you're beginning to take over responsibility for your own health: the foods you eat, the sports you play, the people you hang with, the risks you choose to take or avoid, and the level of comfort or discomfort about those choices you're willing to tolerate. We're not going to be judgmental; while we are indeed parents, we're not your parents, and we're not you. All of the information we provide here comes from the perspective of thinking about your rights, your privacy, and your healthy transition into adulthood. While we hope that you feel comfortable discussing with your parents the important issues raised here, we understand that for some of you that is not going to be the case. We also believe that all teens deserve to know what's happening to their bodies and how they can promote and protect their own physical and emotional well-being.
You should challenge your beliefs. 'Fraid to say it, but the truth is that there's a good chance you've been exposed to—and now believe—a lot of myths when it comes to your health and your body. Our job is to bust 'em up.
So: Do diets really affect acne? Is cramming for tests really bad for you? Does eating fat make you fat? Should you really judge a book by its cover? We don't want myths governing your world; we want you governing your world. And we're going to arm you with the info you need in order to do just that.
Your self-identity and emotions influence virtually every aspect of your health. Part of the whole trick of mastering your health is finding out who you are, and that's a real tough thing to do at any age, let alone in the teenage years. This theme is sprinkled throughout the book and addressed head-on in several chapters. But keep in mind that even when we're talking about what seems like a nitty-gritty health topic, there are emotional and psychological issues that are connected to it. Your mind and body are as linked together as Romeo and Juliet, PB and J, and Abercrombie and Fitch.
We believe that after you read this book, you'll have a deeper understanding of your brain and body—and will truly appreciate the biological majesty that takes place within the cozy confines of your skin. But don't let your learning stop with just this book. If you've got a question, ask us, via Facebook, Twitter, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or use our website, at www.doctoroz.com, to research tens of thousands of health issues.
Our hope, of course, is that you'll take all of this information, talk about the issues we raise, and make your own decisions about the life you want to lead in this challenging, yet exciting, time in your life. After all, this isn't about us. It's about us helping you get to a very good place, a place where . . . You know you.