Benefits of Exercise

With summer here, it is the perfect time to get outside and exercise. We hear it all the time, whether from our parents, teachers, or health professionals, regular exercise is good for you. Many Americans struggle to find the time to change their exercise habits because we are constantly busy. The good news is it’s not too late to start and with a little commitment each day, you can find ways to fit more physical activity into your life.

To start, you should try to get the recommended amount of exercise for your age. For teens, the recommended amount is 60 minutes or more of physical activity every day. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), meeting these recommendations will provide several health benefits such as: reducing your risk of heart disease, improving your mental health and mood, helping keep your thinking, learning, and judgment skills sharp as you age, and improving your sleep.

Physical activities for teens could include:

Raking leaves

Washing windows or floors

Shoveling snow



Shooting baskets


Stair climbing

While we might think that it is difficult to find the time to do these things, often we may already be doing these activities in our everyday lives. So, instead of coming home from a long day at work or school and choosing to take a nap, find something you can enjoy that will enhance your physical health and wellness!

Click here for more physical activity ideas.

Click here to learn more about the benefits of exercise.

Click here to see CDC’s information about physical activity and health.


Upcoming Event- Teen Philanthroparty

DuPage County High School students are invited to attend a party with a purpose on Wednesday, June 6th from 9:30a.m.-12:00 p.m.

5 reasons you don’t want to miss out:

  1. Chance to win raffle prizes such as White Sox tickets, Cubs tickets and Amazon gift cards.
  2. Learn how to become a social influencer and create a positive change in your community.
  3. Make a difference by bringing crayons, markers, glue sticks, hand-held toys, and non-religious children’s books.
  4. Make new friends
  5. Learn how you can get involved in making a big impact through the Reality Teen Advisory Panel.

Register by visiting:

Mental Health: You’re Not Alone!

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being and affects how we think, feel and act. Mental health is important at every stage of life from young childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

Mental illness are conditions that affect a person’s thinking, feeling, mood or behavior and can cause depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.

Poor mental health vs. mental illness: Often these two terms are used interchangeable; however, it is important to note that they are not the same things. A person can experience poor mental health and not be diagnosed with a mental illness. While someone diagnosed with a mental illness can experience periods of physical, mental, and social well-being.

Believe it or not mental illnesses are the most common health conditions in the United States:

  • More than 50% will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime.
  • 20% of youth ages 12-18 live with a mental health condition.
  • 1 in 5 Americans will experience a mental illness in a given year
  • 1 in 5 children currently or at some point during their life have had a seriously devastating mental illness.
  • 1 in 25 Americans lives with a serious mental illness.

If you or someone you know may be experiencing poor mental health, Addison (and surrounding towns) offers several Counseling and Mental Health Services. Visit the resources page for a full list of services.





ACCESS offers a variety of services throughout the Chicagoland area, including Addison. ACCESS Addison Family Health Center located at 1111 Lake Street Addison, IL 60101 provides teen health services ranging from HIV testing services, low contraceptive cost (as part of Title X), and much more.

For more information, please take a look at the following video and see if ACCESS is right (and convenient) for you. ACCESS Video

Celebrate National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month, a nutrition education and information campaign created annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing positive eating and physical activity habits. The theme for 2018 is “Go Further with Food” and making better nutritional decisions doesn’t have to take a lot of time and effort!

So as you “March” forward into spring, there are some steps to take such as eating a variety of foods, balancing your nutrients, and portioning out your meals. Today, one of the many problems Americans face is overdoing it on food. The average portion size for most people is 2-3 servings per meal instead of the recommended serving size.

Portioning out your food can be quite simple and if you don’t have a measuring cup nearby, you can use these tips for a quick reference:

  • 3 ounces (one serving) of meat, poultry or fish is about the size of a deck of playing cards
  • One serving (1 ounce) of cheese is equal to one thin slice of prepackaged cheese or a chunk about the size of your thumb
  • One serving of chopped green salad is a small handful of greens.

Test out your knowledge by visiting where you can take “MyPlate Quizzes” and get a grasp for how much you really know. (Quiz link:

Vaping: So What?

Did you know that nearly one in three 12th graders reported using a vaping device in the past year? That’s right, e-cigarettes are now the most commonly used form of tobacco among youth in the U.S. Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling the aerosol which is produced by an e-cigarette or similar device. Common names you might be familiar with are e-cigs, e-hookahs, mods, vape pens, vapes and tank systems.

In a study conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse about what was in teens e-cigarettes, 13.2% of teens reported nicotine, 5.8% reported marijuana, 13.7% didn’t know, and 1.3% said other. Unfortunately, manufacturers don’t have to report e-cig ingredients, so often users don’t know what’s actually in them. As of 2016, it is ILLEGAL to sell e-cigarettes in person or online to anyone under age 18, they cannot be sold in vending machines, and it is illegal to hand out free samples.

So the big question is: Are they better for you than traditional cigarettes?

Despite what you have heard, there are several risks associated with vaping:

  • Nicotine is highly addictive and can put you at risk for addiction to other drugs
  • Aerosol, the substance that e-cigarette users breathe in, contains harmful and potentially harmful substances like nicotine, chemicals and heavy metals
  • Raises blood pressure
  • Potentially harms parts of the brain that control attention and learning
  • Increases risk of alcohol use and other substance use


Provided below is a list of resources for youth that can provide more information about vaping:

Drug Overdose Epidemic

Drug overdose deaths in the United States area continue to be a public health problem. Every day, 2,500 youth (ages 12-17) abuse a pain prescription pain reliever for the first time. Over a span of 16 years (1999-2015) the death rate of teenagers overdosing more than doubled, and in 2015 alone there were 772 drug overdose deaths for adolescents ages 15-19.

Why do teens abuse prescriptions drugs? There could be many reasons including: help them focus on school work, stop physical and mental pain, be rebellious, peer pressure, and as a way to boost self-confidence.

It’s important to recognize signs of an overdose and identify your role in preventing an overdose in someone you care about.

Symptoms of an overdose:

  • Face is extremely pale and/or clammy to the touch
  • The body is limp
  • Fingernails or lips have a blue or purple cast
  • The person is vomiting or making gurgling noises
  • Individual cannot be awakened from sleep or is unable to speak
  • Breathing and heart rate are significantly reduced or stopped
  • Pinpoint pupils

What is your role in preventing drug overdoses?

  • Increase your awareness of overdose signs and risks.
  • Let your friends know that it isn’t okay to take medicine that isn’t prescribed to them.
  • Share the opioid crisis line with friends who may be struggling.

If you or someone you know is abusing prescription drugs do not hesitate to get the help you need:

Illinois Helpline for Opioid and Other Substances: 1-833-2FINDHELP



STIs- What YOU Need to Know

It’s common for a person to think that they will experience symptoms of an STI infection, but this assumption is far from the truth. Most STIs have no signs or symptoms in many of the people who become infected.

How do I know when to get tested?

  • If you’ve had unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex
  • Have a new partner
  • Think you might have been exposed

Talk to your healthcare provider about getting tested for some of the most common STIs:

  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • HIV
  • Herpes
  • HPV (Human Papilloma Virus)
  • Syphilis
  • Trichomoniasis

Where can I get tested?

Talk to your healthcare provider about the testing they offer at their practice or you can search for a clinic near you


Stop by the DuPage County Health Department’s STD clinic:

Central Public Health Center – Wheaton

111 North County Farm Road

Mondays from 1:30 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.  

Southeast Public Health Center – Westmont                                           

422 North Cass Avenue Westmont, IL 60559 Third and Fourth Tuesday of each month 1:00 p.m. – 4:40 p.m.

Title X Family Planning Services:

The Title X Family Planning program at ACCESS offers health services for men, women, and youth. Our service include:

  • Confidential services for all, including youth
  • Physical exams
  • Birth control and emergency contraception
  • Health education
  • Men’s health screenings – blood pressure, testicular exams
  • Women’s health screenings – breast exam, Pap smears
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STI) testing and treatment​

The Title X Family Planning program is available at these four ACCESS health centers:  ​

ACCESS Addison Family Health Center 1111 Lake Street Addison, IL 60101 630.628.1811​

ACCESS Martin T. Russo Family Health Center 245 South Gary Avenue Bloomingdale, IL 60108 630.893.5230

ACCESS West Chicago Family Health Center 245 W. Roosevelt, Bldg 14, Suite 150 West Chicago, IL 60185 630.293.4124


How does testing work?

Getting tested is fast and easy! Various testing includes a blood sample, a swab, or a urine sample.

To give you an idea on how some tests are done:

Chlamydia-Swab of genital area or urine sample

Gonorrhea-Swab of genital area or urine sample

HIV- Blood test or swab from inside of mouth

Genital Herpes- Blood test

Syphilis- Blood test, or sample taken from a sore

Trichomoniasis- Swab of infected area, physical exam or sample of discharge


Additional Resources:



Raising Awareness About Mental Health


The best way to maintain both your mental and emotional health, is to stay aware of your own needs and feelings. Education is key; The World Health Organization has put together a list of “10 Facts on Mental Health”:

  1. Around 20% of the world’s children and adolescents have mental disorders/problems
  2. Mental and substance use disorders are the leading causes of disability worldwide
  3. About 800,000 people commit suicide every year
  4. War and disasters have a large impact on mental health and psychosocial well-being
  5. Mental disorders are important risk factors for other diseases as well as intentional and unintentional injury
  6. Stigma and discrimination against patients and families prevent people from seeking mental health care
  7. Human rights violations of people with mental and psychosocial disability are routinely reported in most countries
  8. Globally, there is huge inequity in the distribution of skilled human resources for mental health
  9. There are 5 key barriers to increasing mental health services availability
  10. Financial resources to increase services are relatively modest

For more information surrounding these 10 facts visit:


The National Institute of Mental Health provides terms/definitions, statistics, and treatment methods. This can be found at:

Additional resources for youth:


A Primer to Meeting, Knowing and Affirming the Trans Folks in Your Life

We, the youth from Transcend’s Drop In Center, want to tell you a few things about how to be a rad ally to trans people.

Step One:

  • Pronouns are important! We think it would be so cool if teachers or adults asked everyone their pronouns regardless of how “obvious” those pronouns may be.
  • As a trans person, don’t be afraid to assert your pronouns. You are valid. That is your name. Those are you pronouns. And you deserve to be honored and affirmed.
  • Also, you don’t have to come out before you are ready. You know your situation best. You don’t owe your story to anybody. (But we really hope you have some people in your life who will celebrate the amazing human that you are!)
  • Use the correct pronouns for people even when you’re mad at them or when they are not in the room. Don’t misgender someone as a punishment. That is not rad.
  • If you mess up, don’t make a big deal out of it. Even we mess up each other’s pronouns sometimes. Apologize and move on. The best way to show you care is your actions moving forward.

Step Two:

  • Some of us are excited when you want to get to know us and learn more about our identities. Please remember that we aren’t walking dictionaries about queerness and being trans, so here are some helpful tips before you ask us questions:

o   Questions about someone’s birth name are almost always off limits. Even if one person is totally fine with sharing, don’t assume that everyone else will be.

o   Awkward body questions need to stop. How I pee, how I have sex, what surgeries I may or may not have or will have or want to have, what’s on my chest or in pants is none of your business.

o   Before you ask a question, think about the relationship you have with that person, what venue you’re asking that question and whether it’s relevant for the interaction. Generally, we can tell when people are being authentic.

Step Three:

  • Trust that we are the experts on our experience. Listen to us when we tell you who are and affirm our identities in every space and conversation.
  • Keep Learning! Times change. Terms change. Words carry weight and stigma. We find better ways to describe our experiences and that’s pretty RAD. Don’t get caught up in not understanding every term or label. Ask us how you can support us. Different people need different things. Google (with caution)! And continue to learn. Our world is better when all people can live authentically.
  • To the queer and trans people reading this- you are magic! You are valid! You make our world a better place!

o   To learn more:

Thank you for helping create safe, supportive and celebratory spaces for LGBTQ+ people!