Being the parent of a teenager brings adventure, fun and challenges.
This month I would like to begin a two part series briefly exploring some
information about important health concerns for teens. I have chosen to
do this in the form of an outline as I would like to make mention on as
many of these concerns as possible. Further information about Teen and
Adolescent Health should be obtained from your child's Pediatrician or
Family Health Provider.
I. Leading concerns that parents and teens must confront are:
Body Changes and Hormones
Menstruation Smoking Drinking Drugs
Safety and Driving Depression
Dating and relationships
Sex and Sexuality
Videos, TV and Computers
II. Leading health indicators for adolescents include:
Smoking, which is often initiated during the adolescent years, is the
single most preventable risk factor for the leading causes of death including
heart disease and cancer. Despite these negative consequences, estimates
indicate that 6,000 adolescents will experiment with smoking and 3,000
persons younger than 18 years will become daily smokers each day (Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention, 2000).
Alcohol is the most commonly used psychoactive substance during adolescence.
Alcohol use can contribute to many negative consequences for teenagers
because of its association with motor vehicle crashes, injuries, deaths,
problems in school and the workplace, fighting, and crime (MacKay,
Fingerhut, Duran, 2000). In 1998, 19% of adolescents ages 12 to
17 years stated that they had drunk alcohol in the past month (Healthy
People 2010). In 1999, half of high school students reported drinking
in the previous 30 days (48% of female students and 52% of male students).
In addition to using alcohol, some adolescents also experiment with illicit
drugs. Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug among high school
students. In 1998,10% of adolescents aged 12 to 17 years reported using
illicit drugs in the past 30
days (Healthy People 2010). In 1999, 47% of high
school students had used marijuana during their lifetime and 27 percent
had used marijuana one or more times in the
past 30 days. Marijuana use has increased between 1990 and 1999 among
high school students.
Source: National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA),
Adolescence is a developmental period during which many changes take place.
teenagers experience adolescence as stressful and they may experience
feelings of hopelessness. These feelings could be a precursor to suicide
or suicidal ideation. In fact, suicide is the third leading cause of death
Injury and Violence
The death rate for adolescents ages 15-24 years has decreased since 1980
100,000), but remained at 82.3 per 100,000 in 1998. Several factors contribute
cause of death for this age group. These factors include unintentional
injury (i.e. motor
vehicle crashes), which is the leading cause of death, followed by homicide
Next Month: Leading health indicators for adolescents Part II:
Overweight and Obesity
Responsible Sexual Behavior