If you are between the ages of 10-24, your days are never the same. Each day can have many different life events.
- You may be in school and school-related activities.
- You may volunteer.
- You may have a job.
- You may be busy keeping up with the lives of your friends.
- You may even be in a relationship with someone special.
You may also be facing other challenges in your everyday life. At the same time, you are growing, living life, and learning more about who you are. You are deciding who you want to be.
Some important health and social issues may start during your adolescent years.
- Motor vehicle accidents;
- Mental Health challenges;
- Substance use;
- Nutrition and weight conditions;
- Sexually transmitted infections, including HIV;
- Teen and unintended pregnancies;
- Academic problems and dropping out of school;
- Suicide; and
Emerging Issues in Adolescent and Young Adult Health:
Three issues can influence the health of adolescents:
- This population is diverse. There are increases in the numbers of Latino and Asian American youth. The growing ethnic diversity will need cultural awareness to health care needs.
- Mental health has an intense impact on physical health, academic achievement, and well-being. About 50% of mental disorders begin by age 14 and 75% begin by age 24.
- Positive youth development (PYD) interventions provides all youth with:
- Resources; and
- Opportunities needed to become competent, thriving adults.
Why Is Health Important?
During the teen years, there are body changes and skills like independent activities. Young adults over 18 also face social and economic challenges. They have to take on adult issues but there are few system supports.
There are significant disparities in outcomes among racial and ethnic groups. African Americans, American Indians, and Latinos struggle with obesity, unintended pregnancy, tooth decay, and education. The leading causes of illness and death among adolescents are preventable. Health outcomes are behavior-related and linked to many social factors.
Social Environment and Your Health
Your social environment can provide protective factors and increase risk factors associated with your overall health. Here are some ways your health outcomes may be impacted:
- Youth who have a good bond with a caring adult are less likely to engage in risky behaviors.
- Parents involved in their teen’s activities provide a safe way to explore the world.
- Children in poverty may be at higher risk for some health conditions and have a poorer health status. They have less access to and use of health care services.
- Student health affects school achievement. Healthy students are more effective learners.
- Academic success and achievement can predict overall adult health outcomes.
- High school graduation leads to lower rates of health problems and risk of jail. It offers better financial stability and socio-emotional well-being during adulthood.
- School can affect attendance, academics, learning, graduation, social relationships, behavior, and mental health.
- Adolescents in distressed neighborhoods are at risk for exposure to violence. Negative outcomes include poor physical and mental health, delinquency, and risky sexual behavior.
Most important - have a caring and trusted adult in your life. This can be a parent, relative, teacher, neighbor, or any adult that you trust. Young people who have support will connect with their community. They will connect with school and learning. They lead healthier lives.
Adolescence in Digital Times
Advances in technology mean you are facing issues that no previous generation has ever seen. While some issues are not exactly new, electronic media has changed or amplified some of the struggles you face. The prevalence of digital communication has changed the way you interact with peers and romantic interests. Your social media and texting habits as well as how you consume media can change the way you communicate, date, learn, sleep, exercise, and more. In fact, the average teen spends over nine hours each day using their electronic devices.
PYD is growing and helps prevent health risk behaviors. Evidence shows that well-designed PYD interventions can lead to positive outcomes. Visit the Texas Youth Action Network for more information.
You will find a lot of great websites with tools and information to help you get healthy and stay healthy.
Some examples can be found on the following websites:
- SAMHSA (the National Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)
- OPA (the US Health & Human Services Office of Population Affairs)
- The Got Transition website
- Diet guidelines
- Injury prevention
Always check with an adult to be sure the website is real and safe.
Please contact us for more information on adolescent health at:
Texas Department of State Health Services
Maternal & Child Health
PO Box 149347, Mail Code 1922
Austin, TX 78714-9347
External links are informational and do not have the endorsement of the Texas Department of State Health Services. These external links may not be accessible to individuals with disabilities.