Skip to content

Health checks for teens

In partnership with Dr Michela Sorensen

Here are some health checks that are important for teenagers

Red-haired teenager looking at health checks on her smartphone
Red-haired teenager looking at health checks on her smartphone

TikTok trends to teacher dramas, body image to bullies, peer pressure to part-time work – you’ve got a lot going on. It’s not surprising that your health might be low on your list of things to worry about during the crazy-hectic teen years. Thing is, without your health, you can’t be your best. So to help you slay, we’ve put together a list of health checks. And
unlike school, there are no tests to study for (phew!)…

What health checks do you need?

Your GP (general practitioner) can give you specifics, but, as a general overview, here are a few health checks that are important for teens:

We know; it sounds like a boomer problem, but blood pressure can actually be an issue in teen years, too – and because it doesn’t have symptoms, it’s something you don’t know you have (pretty sneaky, hey?). It’s a good idea to get your blood pressure checked from the age of 18 to pick up any heart issues. It’s a simple check that only takes a couple of minutes.

What is a blood pressure check?

A blood pressure test measures pressure in the arteries as your heart pumps. It’s
checked using a blood pressure machine and cuff.

How often should I have a blood pressure check?

At least every two years, starting from age 18.

Who does the check?

A doctor or nurse.

Related: Your blood pressure and how to measure it from home

Dental check-up

Want to keep your smile looking good? Regular dental check-ups are really important for selfie-worthy teeth. That’s because conditions that affect your teeth and mouth (such as gum disease and tooth decay) can affect your overall health as well as your smile.

If you have nib Extras cover, you can claim your dental check-up at  any dentist recognised by nib. But if you visit an nib Dental Care Centre1, eligible members can receive 100% back on dental check-ups. Book an appointment online today.

What is a dental check-up?

A dental check-up involves an examination of the mouth, teeth and lips. Dentists also
usually clean the teeth and gums, and may offer a fluoride treatment.

How often should I have a dental check-up?

At least once a year, but ideally every six months.

Who does the check?

Dentists. GPs can also do oral health checks, where they examine the mouth, teeth and lips.

Growth check

This does exactly what it says on the label – checks your height and weight to make sure you’re growing at a good rate (and not underweight or overweight).

“Remember, we all come in different shapes and sizes, so it’s not a competition as to who is the tallest, fittest or most developed,” points out GP Dr Michela Sorensen. “It’s about checking in to make sure you are continuing to grow and develop in a nice, steady and healthy way.”

What is a growth check?

A GP will measure your weight in kilograms and height in metres to figure out your body mass index (BMI). Age-specific BMI charts will determine whether you’re in the normal BMI range.

How often should I have a growth check?

Every two years.

Who does the check?


Mental health check

Unfortunately, teens – especially those with a personal or family history of mental health
concerns, a chronic illness and/or those who’ve been through a major negative life event (such as being bullied) – are at increased risk of depression. Your doctor will want to make sure you aren’t experiencing any mental health problems.

If you’re experiencing mental health issues, Head to Health provides links to trusted Australian resources and treatment options.

What is a mental health check?

Your doctor will ask you questions about your feelings and behaviours, as well as study,
relationships, sexuality and body image.

“Mental health affects not only how you are feeling, such as happy, sad or anxious, but it can affect you physically too,” explains Michela. “So a doctor will ask about your overall mood, but they will also check a range of other things such as your sleep, your appetite, your energy levels and your overall enjoyment of things. They will also chat with you about how things are going at school, at home and with your friends.

“Depending on what you talk about, they might also want to order some blood tests to make sure there are no other things affecting your mood, for example, low iron levels,” she

How often should I have this check?

If you don’t feel the need for a more regular check, a mental health check-up should happen every few months when you visit your GP or other health care provider.

Who does the check?


Skin check

Fact: living in Australia, chances are you will develop at least some degree of sun-related
skin damage during your life. There are some sun safety myths we need to stop believing, and while most of us don’t get skin cancers in our teenage years, it is possible. All you need to do is be aware of how your skin normally looks and see a doctor if you notice a new spot or change in a mole.

What is a skin check?

A skin check involves a doctor checking over your entire body for skin cancers or suspicious lesions.

How often should I have this check?

There are no set intervals for most people. But for people at high risk (anyone who’s had
melanoma or who has more than five moles with an unusual appearance), a skin self-examination should be done every three months and a full body examination by your doctor every 6-12 months. Keen to find out your risk of skin cancer?Learn more about your risk of skin cancer using nib’s skin assessment..

Who does the check?

Your GP or a dermatologist (skin specialist).

Related: How a skin cancer check can save your life

Sexual health check

If you’re 15 years or older and sexually active, it’s recommended you have a sexual health check to make sure you’re using the best protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancy.

“You might feel uncomfortable or embarrassed about talking about your sexual health with your doctor, but remember, doctors talk about this stuff ALL the time,” Michela says
reassuringly. “It is their job to provide advice and guidance, with no judgement. Whatever you say to your doctor is private, and even if your parents see the same doctor, they can’t tell them about anything you discuss.”

What is a sexual health check?

A GP will ask you questions about your sexual activity. A physical examination is not always necessary, but a sample of urine, a swab from your genitals and/or a blood test may be taken for testing.

“Make sure you find a doctor who you feel comfortable with, who you can talk to and trust. This will definitely help the process,” Michela advises.

How often should I have this check?

It depends on your level of risk (which is based on your age and sexual practices).

Who does the check?

A GP or health professional (doctor or nurse) at a Sexual Health or Family Planning Clinic.

Self-check of testicles

Formal screening tests are not needed, but if you’re a boy, you should be aware of how your testicles normally feel. If you notice any lumps, changes or new symptoms, don’t be embarrassed – but do see a doctor.

What is a testicle self-check?

Being familiar with the usual feel of your testicles.

How often should I have this check?

It’s an ongoing self-assessment.

Who does the check?

You do!

Related: How a testicle cancer check can save your life

Breast awareness

If you’re a girl, you’ve probably already noticed a lot of changes going on in the breast area. Well, keep noticing… because being familiar with the usual look and feel of your breasts is super important. See a doctor if you spot lumps, nipple changes or nipple discharge.

What is breast awareness?

Being familiar with the usual look and feel of your breasts.

How often should I have this check?

It’s an ongoing self-assessment.

Who does the check?

You do!

Related: How a breast cancer check can save your life

At nib, we’re committed to keeping you at your healthiest, which is why
we’ve put together a list of health tips for teens.

Please note: This is not an all-inclusive list; there may be other health checks that are recommended based on your teenager’s age and individual circumstances. The tips throughout this article serve as broad information and should not replace any advice you or your child has been given by a medical practitioner. Please make an appointment with your GP for advice on the health checks your teenager will need based on their personal circumstances.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are at increased risk of many diseases, and so are often recommended to start health checks at an earlier age. It may also be recommended to have the tests or checks more often. Please see your GP for personalised advice for your teenager.

1 Payment by nib of dental benefits is subject to serving relevant waiting periods, annual limits and service limits. Check your cover by visiting Online Services or call 13 16 42. The dental check-up covers an examination (011, 012), scale and clean (114) or removal of plaque (111), fluoride treatment (121) and bite-wing or periapical x-rays (022, maximum of 2 per year), as deemed necessary and appropriate in the clinical opinion of the dentist (dentures not included). The services provided will be deducted from your annual limits and/or service limits. The 100% back offer is not to be used in conjunction with any other offer or government scheme, nor substitutable or redeemable for cash and is only available with dentists who have a preferred provider agreement with nib. ~nib Dental Care Centres are owned and operated by Pacific Smiles Group Limited ABN 42 103 087 449. The nib Dental Care Centre trademark is owned by nib health funds ABN 83 000 124 381 and is used under license by Pacific Smiles Group Limited.

Articles you might also like

In partnership with

Dr Michela Sorensen

Dr Michela Sorensen is a GP who is passionate about women’s, mental and rural health. She believes access is the biggest barrier we have when it comes to our health, and is a strong advocate for change in this area. In her spare time, Michela enjoys baking... and eating most of the mixture before it actually makes it into the oven.