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I AM in Iowa Adolescents Making Choices to Control Their Future Teen:Health, Relationship, Body and Sexuality
May 1

Follow us on Twitter!

Posted By iamincontrol | May 1, 2014

Want to find out when IAMincontrol has a new post?  Follow us on Twitter @IAMincontrolIA for tweets about our posts and events for teens.  Retweet to share your favorite posts with your friends!
Jan 19

Comforting a Friend Who Has Been Sexually Assaulted

Posted By iamincontrol | January 19, 2017

Every two minutes, someone is sexually assaulted in the United States. Sexual assault is sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the recipient’s consent. If a friend comes to you after being a victim of sexual assault, it’s hard to know what to say. Being supportive and nonjudgmental is most important when comforting your friend. Here are a few phrases you could use:

  1.  “I believe you.” Many victims fear that their story will not be believed. Avoid asking too many questions and focus on being supportive instead.
  2. “I’m sorry this happened to you.” People find comfort when their words are acknowledged. Phrases such as this show your friend that you are listening and care about them.
  3. It’s not your fault.” It’s common for victims of sexual assault to blame themselves. They may claim that the way they dressed or acted led the assailant on. Remind them that assault is NEVER the victim’s fault. Choosing to assault another person is a choice made by the assailant ONLY. Avoid questioning their behavior by asking questions such as, “Why did you go with him?” as these imply that your friend is at fault.
  4. “Are you open to seeking medical attention?” It’s best to see a doctor after a sexual assault, but the decision is ultimately up to your friend. Encourage your friend to go by offering to go with him/her.

For more tips for how to comfort a friend who has been sexually assaulted, visit:

Jan 17

Listen to Your Body, Your Backpack Shouldn’t Hurt You

Posted By iamincontrol | January 17, 2017

 We all know we need to do our homework, but trying to take home all of the materials and textbooks home can be a hassle. Lugging around a heavy backpack is not only irritating but it can also be dangerous. It is recommended that your backpack should only weigh between 10-20% of your body weight. This means if you weight 120 pounds your bag should be no more than 24 pounds. Weighing your backpack might sound funny, but a heavy backpack can have painful health effects: lower back, neck and shoulder pain and joint and muscle injuries, and posture problems. If you want to weigh your backpack but don’t have a scale at home, ask your PE teacher or school nurse if they have one you could use.

Here are a few tips to lighten your load:

  1. Roll instead of carry. Purchase a bag that you don’t have to carry but can roll. This is ideal, but it may be hard to stuff in your locker or navigate crowded hallways with.
  2. Do homework at school. Take advance of your study hall, free period, or before and after school time to do homework that you need a textbook for. Do they homework you only need the internet for at home.
  3. Find a bag that holds less. Using a backpack that can’t physically hold as much will reduce your chances of stuffing it too full.
  4. Go virtual. Find out if your textbooks are available online and eliminate the burden of carrying around textbooks all together!

Along with the weight of your bag, it is also important to find a backpack that fits properly on you. Bags range in sizes and lengths so make sure you try it on before you buy. When you’re wearing it, be sure to wear it properly with one strap on each shoulder. Avoid bags that only have one strap because they can also cause more damage.

Check out more tips on backpack safety here:

Jan 12

STDs: More Common Than You Think

Posted By iamincontrol | January 12, 2017

Sexually Transmitted DiseaseSexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are on the rise in the United States. STDs include diseases such as genital herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV, human papilloma virus (HPV), and Hepatitis B. These diseases are spread through sexual contact. Some STDs can be treated with medicine whereas others can lead to a lifelong disease with severe consequences. If you choose to have sex, always use a condom to protect yourself because STDs may be more common than you think. Here are some current stats from the CDC regarding STDs in the United States.

  1. Number of new cases of STDs every year: 7 million
  2. Proportion of new STD cases from 15-24 year olds: half
  3. Number of people with prevalent STDs: 110 million
  4. Proportion of chlamydia cases in people aged 15-24: nearly 2/3
  5. Proportion of gonorrhea cases in people aged 15-24: half
  6. Proportion of sexually active adolescent females who have an STD: 1 in 4
  7. Percentage of people who have genital herpes and do not know it: 4%
  8. Percentage of people who have HPV without any symptoms: 90%
  9. Proportion of people who have HIV and do not know it: 1 in 8
  10. STDs can cause infertility (inability to have children) in women.

Besides abstinence, condom use is the most effective method for preventing most STDs. Remember that people can be carriers of STDs without showing any symptoms. Just because neither partner is experiencing any signs does not make it safe to have unprotected sexual intercourse or oral sex.

If you are sexually active, there is a chance you may have an STD. There are a number of places you can go to get tested. Testing is confidential (meaning they can’t tell your parents without your permission) and some places will do it for free. Here is a link to find a testing center in your area:

Jan 10

Dating Violence & Bystander Intervention

Posted By iamincontrol | January 10, 2017

Did you know…

  • 1 in 4 teens have experienced dating violence?
  • 2 out of 3 teenagers in abusive relationships keep it a secret?
  • 33% of teenagers have witnessed an act of dating violence?

 What can you do to intervene?

  • Sad girl crying and a friend comforting herBe direct. If you think the situation is safe enough, walk up to the couple and say: “hey, that’s not okay” or “you need to stop talking to that person that way.” Or help dissolve the tension with a joke! Either way, you’re talking directly to both people in the couple.
  • Be a distraction. If you’re uncomfortable with direct confrontation, call one of them over to talk to you. You can ask them to help you with a homework question or do anything that will separate the couple for a few minutes. Distraction can end the abusive interaction for the time being until you can figure out what to do next.
  • Tell an adult. If you’re uncomfortable with doing the strategies above, or if you tried both strategies and they didn’t work, tell an adult. An adult could be a teacher, a coach, or a parent, and they can help figure out what is safest for the couple.

Both boys and girls can be abusive or be abused, and it can happen in gay and straight relationships.

Learn more about dating violence and what to do as a bystander in this short video:

Jan 5

Carrie Fisher: Mental Health Advocate

Posted By iamincontrol | January 5, 2017

The late Carrie Fisher is most known from her role as Princess Leia in the “Star Wars” franchise. However, she was also an actress who used her platform to speak about her mental health.  Carrie was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 24. She also battled drug addiction. However, she eventually got the help she needed and decided to speak openly about her struggles with both her disorder and her addiction. Because of this, she is a hero to many people living fighting addiction or living with bipolar disorder or other mental illnesses. As a famous actress, she had the power to reach many people carrie-fisherby sharing her story. Carrie Fisher tried to be a positive example for people living with mental illness.

Many other celebrities have shared their stories as well. Singer and former Disney star Demi Lovato, Harry Potter series author J.K. Rowling, Youtuber Jack Harries, Pretty Little Liars actress Troian Bellisario, Supernatural actor Jared Padalecki, and author John Green have all talked about their struggles with mental health in some way. Just like Carrie Fisher, these actors are also helping to make people who struggle with anxiety, depression, or any other mental illness to not feel so alone and to be comfortable reaching out for help.

To read more about celebrities who have spoken out about mental health, check out this link:

To read more about Carrie Fisher’s impact on mental health, check out this link:

Jan 3

Global Education Perspectives & Poll Results

Posted By iamincontrol | January 3, 2017

Poll results are in and Iowa teens want to learn more about education around the world.

Think about your global neighbors!

Education Around the WorldDid you know that Iowa has one of the highest graduation rates in the United States? Last year, almost 91% of seniors graduated on time in the state. While for most teenagers in Iowa, school is a part of everyday life, this

is not true everywhere in the United States or in other countries. In the US, on average, 82% of seniors graduate on time, but in some states it can be as low as 68%. We count on school to teach us skills that will help us to work when we grow up. But not every child has access to school the way we do here. In southern Africa, almost 30% of kids do not go to school every. These students struggle to learn how to read and write because there aren’t enough schools or they are far away from where they live. Other areas are affected by conflict and war which makes it too dangerous to attend school regularly. In the Middle East and North Africa, 25% of children are either not in school or at risk of dropping out of school.

Girls have an even harder time. Females are more likely than males to not go to school and not learn how to read. There are more than 62 million girls worldwide who do not have access to education. That’s almost 20 times the size of the entire population of Iowa! Some countries ban girls from going to school and in others educating girls is just not a priority for families. Girls often have to stay home to do chores and care for children and aren’t given the time to go to school.

Being able to attend school, for both boys and girls, helps them to support their families and live healthier lives. To learn more visit:

To learn more about specifically girls and education around the world visit:

To check out the graphic about further visit: 

Dec 29

Types of Eating Disorders

Posted By iamincontrol | December 29, 2016

Eating disorders are a lot more common than you might think. They are more than dieting or exercising to lose weight. They are extreme behaviors like skipping multiple meals because you don’t like your body, choosing not to hang with your friends to workout, or forcing yourself to throw up your meals.

There are 4 common types of eating disorders:

  • Anorexia is a disorder where a person is extremely underweight and thin. People with anorexia have a warped view of what Male Anorexiatheir body actually looks like. They are really anxious about gaining weight and resort to missing meals, exercising more than they should, or obsessing over the calories that they do eat.
  • Binge Eating Disorder is when a person eats more than they should at least once a week. They have trouble stopping once they start and feel unable to control themselves around food.
  • Bulimia is the act of binge eating then forcing yourself to throw it up. Others may use laxatives (medicine that makes you poop) when they don’t need to or may exercise an extreme amount. People with bulimia may feel helpless when it comes to eating and have trouble stopping. They keep eating until they physically can’t eat anymore and then force themselves to throw it up.
  • Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) is where a person might avoid certain colors or textures of food or eats very small portions. They may rarely have an appetite or have difficulty digesting certain foods. Because they don’t eat as much as they should, people with ARFID often lose weight and need to take vitamins pills. They may even avoid going out to eat with friends or eating lunch at school.

To learn more about eating disorders, signs and treatments visit:

Dec 27

When It Rains, It Pours

Posted By iamincontrol | December 27, 2016

We’ve all heard of climate change. We can talk about rising sea levels and green house gases in our atmosphere, but it’s hard to notice these things until it affects us (Check out this website to learn what you can do to fight climate change). The U.S. is no stranger to climate change. In August, the flooding in Louisiana was the worst U.S. disaster since Hurricane Sandy.Flood Damaged Cars

Here are some statistics about the Louisiana flooding during the summer of 2016:

  • Louisiana experienced 6,900,000,000,000 gallons of rainfall in one week
  • More than 31 inches of rain fell in 15 hours
  • 30,000 people and 1,400 pets were rescued
  • More than 60,000 homes have been damaged
  • 13 people died
  • The estimated cost for the flood is $30 million
  • The next time a flood like this will happen in Baton Rouge is 500 years from now

To learn more details about the floods visit:

Dec 22

Winter Holidays (It’s Not Just Christmas)

Posted By iamincontrol | December 22, 2016

Most people associate the month of December with the celebration of Christmas, but it is important to recognize holidays from other cultures too.

Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Some cultures recognize Santa Clause, decorate pine trees, and display nativity scenes. We always celebrate Christmas on December 25th.Happy holidays vintage chalked lettering

Hanukkah is a Jewish Holiday that is observed for 8 days to celebrate the menorah that continued to burn in the Holy Temple that was safely protected from the Maccabean Revolt. Those who celebrate Hanukkah often light the Menorah, which consists of 9 candles. Some even exchange presents on each of the 8 nights, sing songs, and spin toy dreidels. This year we celebrate Hanukkah from December 24th to January 1st.

Kwanzaa honors African heritage and history and is celebrated for one week. Each day of Kwanzaa recognizes different ideas that are valuable to African culture, such as unity, responsibility, and creativity. People put out corn and other fruits and vegetables alongside important books. We celebrate Kwanzaa from December 26th to January  1st this year.

Around the holiday season, try to remain open minded and respectful of other cultures and celebrations that may be different than yours. The holidays that are mentioned here are just a small collection of global celebrations, but there are many more.

To learn more about the holidays mentioned and more winter holidays check out:

Dec 20

Nutrition Labels: What Can They Tell Us?

Posted By iamincontrol | December 20, 2016

nutrition-labelNutrition labels can tell us a lot about the healthiness of the food we eat. But how do we read and interpret these nutrition facts? Below is an example of a nutrition label taken from a macaroni and cheese box, which you can use as a guide.

  1. Serving Size – All of the nutrition facts are based on the serving size listed. In the case of our sample macaroni and cheese label, if you were to eat the whole package (2 cups) you would be eating two servings. Because all of the numbers and percentages on the label are based on the serving size, you would need to double all of the nutrition values. This will tell you what you actually ate, not just values for the intended serving size.
  2. Calories (and Calories from Fat) – Calories are what gives us energy. For most people, 2000 calories per day is the recommended amount. Your doctor can determine what number of calories is best for you. Calories can come from a variety of sources, including fat. If a food has a large proportion of calories coming from fat, the food is likely to be unhealthy.
  3. Nutrients to Limit – The nutrients highlighted in yellow are ones you want to limit. Too much fat, cholesterol, and sodium are not good for your health and can lead to things like obesity and high blood pressure.
  4. Nutrients to Get Enough of  The nutrients highlighted in blue are the “good-for-you” nutrients you want to make sure you get enough of.
  5. Footnote – The footnote on the bottom of most nutrition labels is the same for every food item and is not specific to the food the label is on. The footnote lists daily recommendations based on weight (g = grams, mg = milligrams.)
  6. Percent Daily Value (%DV) – The % Daily Value, highlighted in purple, tells you the proportion of the daily recommended amount of the nutrient that is in the food item per serving (based a 2000 calorie diet). Not all nutrients have a recommended amount and, therefore, will not have a percent daily value. 5% is considered to be a low amount, whereas 20% or more is considered a high amount.

In 2018, nutrition labels will be getting a makeover and will include more nutrients, more realistic serving sizes, and an overall new look! To learn more about the coming changes visit:

And to learn more about how to read food labels vist: