Child and Adolescent Health Risks Essay

Child and Adolescent Health Risks Essay

Child and Adolescent Health Risks Essay

Topic 1: Child and Adolescent Health Risks

As you discovered in this week’s lectures and readings, several populations face multiple health risks across their lifespan. Children and adolescents are a population that is at a higher health risk for obesity. A national movement is underway to reduce risk factors for developing obesity in children. Part of this movement is the “Let’s Move!” campaign, which is a comprehensive and coordinated initiative to prevent childhood obesity. The initiative emphasizes four primary components: healthy schools, access to affordable and healthy food, raising children’s physical activity levels, and empowering families to make healthy choices. Review Healthy People 2020:Child and Adolescent Health Risks Essay

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1.Identify risk factors for childhood obesity.
2, Do the risk factors differ and how do they differ between children and adolescents?
3. Identify objectives that will combat childhood and adolescent obesity.
4. Provide suggestions on how community health nurses can contribute to these national health objectives and accomplish the goal of decreasing obesity among this population.

Adolescents (ages 10 to 17) and young adults (ages 18 to 25) make up 22% of the United States population.1 The behavioral patterns established during these developmental periods help determine young people’s current health status and their risk for developing chronic diseases during adulthood.Child and Adolescent Health Risks Essay

Although adolescence and young adulthood are generally healthy times of life, some important health and social problems either start or peak during these years.3 Examples include:

Mental disorders
Substance use
Smoking/nicotine use
Nutrition and weight conditions
Sexually transmitted infections, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
Teen and unintended pregnancies
Academic problems and dropping out of school
Motor vehicle collisions
Because they are in developmental transition, adolescents and young adults (AYAs) are particularly sensitive to influences from their social environments.4 Their families, peer groups, schools, and neighborhoods can either support or threaten young people’s health and well-being.5 Societal policies and cues, such as structural racism and media messages, can do the same.5 Older adolescents and young adults, including those with chronic health conditions, may face challenges as they transition from the child to the adult health care system, such as changes in their insurance coverage and legal status and decreased attention to their developmental and behavioral needs.6 Bolstering the positive development of young people facilitates their adoption of healthy behaviors and helps ensure a healthy and productive adult population. Child and Adolescent Health Risks Essay

Why Is Adolescent and Young Adult Health Important?
Adolescence is a critical transitional period9, 10 that includes the biological changes of puberty and developmental tasks such as normative exploration and learning to be independent.4, 11 Young adults who have reached the age of majority also face significant social and economic challenges with few organizational supports at a time when they are expected to take on adult responsibilities and obligations.12

There are significant disparities in outcomes among racial and ethnic groups. In general, AYAs who are African American, American Indian, or Latino, especially those living in poverty, experience worse outcomes in a variety of areas such as obesity,13 teen and unintended pregnancy,14 tooth decay,15 and educational achievement,16 compared to AYAs who are Caucasian or Asian American. In addition, sexual minority youth have a higher prevalence of many health risk behaviors.Child and Adolescent Health Risks Essay

The financial burdens of preventable health problems are large and include the long-term costs of chronic diseases resulting from behaviors begun during adolescence and young adulthood. For example, the annual adult health–related financial burden of cigarette smoking, which usually starts during these years, was calculated as $289 billion for 2009–2012.18

There are many examples of effective policies and programs19 that address AYA health issues:

Access to health care20
School-based health care services21
State graduated driver licensing programs22
Prevention of alcohol,23, 24 marijuana,25 and tobacco use26, 27
Violence prevention28, 29, 30
Delinquency prevention31, 32, 33, 34
Mental health and substance use interventions23, 35, 36
Teen pregnancy prevention37, 38, 39, 40
HIV prevention41, 42
Related Topic Areas
Access to Health Services
Disability and Health
Educational and Community-Based Programs
Environmental Health

Understanding Adolescent and Young Adult Health
The leading causes of illness and death among AYAs are largely preventable,3 and health outcomes are frequently both behaviorally mediated43 and linked to multiple social factors. This is shown by the following empirical examples:Child and Adolescent Health Risks Essay

Adolescents who have good communication and are bonded with a caring adult are less likely to engage in risky behaviors.44
Parents who supervise and are involved with their adolescents’ activities are promoting a safe environment for them to explore opportunities.44, 45
The children of families living in poverty are more likely to have health conditions and poorer health status, as well as lower access to and use of health care services.46, 47, 48
Student health and academic achievement are linked.49 Healthy students are more effective learners.50
Academic success and achievement strongly predicts overall adult health outcomes. Proficient academic skills are associated with lower rates of risky behaviors and higher rates of healthy behaviors.51
High school graduation leads to lower rates of health problems52, 53 and risk for incarceration,54, 55 as well as enhanced financial stability and socio-emotional well-being during adulthood.Child and Adolescent Health Risks Essay
The school social environment affects student attendance, academic achievement, engagement with learning, likelihood of graduation, social relationships, behavior, and mental health.60, 61, 62, 63, 64
AYAs growing up in distressed neighborhoods with high rates of poverty are at risk for exposure to violence and a variety of negative outcomes, including poor physical and mental health, delinquency, and risky sexual behavior.65, 66
Media Exposure
AYAs exposed to media portrayals of violence, smoking, and drinking are at risk for adopting these behaviors.67
Although social media use offers important benefits to AYAs, such as health promotion, communication, education, and entertainment, it also increases risks for exposure to cyberbullying, engagement in “sexting,” and depression.12, 68, 69, 70
Learn More
CDC Grand Rounds: Adolescence — Preparing for Lifelong Health and Wellness
The Changing Face of America’s Adolescents
A Picture of Adolescent Health
Adolescent Health: Think, Act, Grow®
School Connectedness: Strategies for Increasing Protective Factors Among Youth [PDF – 1MB]
Emerging Issues in Adolescent and Young Adult Health
Three important issues influence how the health of AYAs will be approached in the coming decade:

The AYA population is becoming more ethnically diverse, with rapid increases in the numbers of Latino and Asian American youth. The growing ethnic diversity will require cultural responsiveness to health care needs as well as sharpened attention to disparate health, academic, and economic outcomes.Child and Adolescent Health Risks Essay
The mental health of AYAs has a profound impact on their physical health, academic achievement, and well-being.72 About 50% of lifelong mental disorders begin by age 14 and 75% begin by age 24.73 Suicide is a leading cause of death among AYAs74 and suicide rates climbed significantly for these age groups between 1999 and 2014.75, 76 Trauma associated with common adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) contributes to mental and behavioral health issues for many youth77, 78, 79 as well as negative adult outcomes.80 Fortunately, at least some ACEs can be prevented and their effects improved.81, 82
Positive youth development (PYD) interventions are intentional processes that provide all youth with the support, relationships, experiences, resources, and opportunities needed to become competent, thriving adults.83 Their use is growing for preventing AYA health risk behaviors.84 An expanding evidence base demonstrates that well-designed PYD interventions can lead to positive outcomes, including the prevention of AYA health risk behaviors. Additional evaluation is necessary to learn how to tailor successful interventions to meet the needs of different groups of AYAs Child and Adolescent Health Risks Essay

More than a quarter of the world’s population is between the ages of 10 and 24, with 86% living in less developed countries. These young people are tomorrow’s parents. The reproductive and sexual health decisions they make today will affect the health and wellbeing of their communities and of their countries for decades to come.

In particular, two issues have a profound impact on young people’s sexual health and reproductive lives: family planning and HIV/AIDS. Teenage girls are more likely to die from pregnancy-related health complications than older women in their 20s. Statistics indicate that one-half of all new HIV infections worldwide occur among young people aged 15 to 24.Child and Adolescent Health Risks Essay

In this study session you will learn about changes during adolescence and why it is important to deal with adolescents’ reproductive health problems. You will learn about factors affecting adolescents’ risk-taking behaviours and its consequences. You will also learn the importance of raising awareness about adolescent reproductive health rights.

Learning Outcomes for Study Session 1
When you have studied this session, you should be able to:

1.1 Define and use correctly all of the key words printed in bold. (SAQs 1.1 and 1.5)

1.2 Show that you understand that different groups of adolescents have different needs. (SAQs 1.1 and 1.5)

1.3 Briefly describe the biological and psychosocial changes during adolescence. (SAQ 1.2)

1.4 Explain why adolescents are especially vulnerable to reproductive health risks. (SAQ 1.3)

1.5 Show that you are aware of adolescent reproductive health rights and the need to provide appropriate information and services. (SAQ 1.4)Child and Adolescent Health Risks Essay

1.1 Why it is important to provide services for adolescents and young people
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines an adolescent as an individual in the 10-19 years age group and usually uses the term young person to denote those between 10 and 24 years. In this Module we will use these definitions and also the terms early adolescence (10-14), late adolescence (15-19) and post-adolescence (20-24), because they are helpful in understanding the problems and designing appropriate interventions for young people of different ages. You will explore the relevance of this classification in greater detail in Study Sessions 10 and 12 which discuss how you can promote and provide adolescent and youth-friendly reproductive services.

Adolescence is a period of transition from childhood to adulthood during which adolescents develop biologically and psychologically and move towards independence. Although we may think of adolescents as a healthy group, many die prematurely and unnecessarily through accidents, suicide, violence and pregnancy-related complications. Some of the serious conditions of adulthood (for example, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), like HIV; and tobacco use) have their roots in adolescent behaviour.Child and Adolescent Health Risks Essay

Studies show that young people are not affected equally by reproductive health problems. Orphans, young girls in rural areas, young people who are physically or mentally impaired, abused or have been abused as children and those migrating to urban areas or being trafficked are more likely to have problems.

Despite their numbers, adolescents have not traditionally been considered a health priority in many countries, including Ethiopia. While the country has been implementing major interventions to reduce child mortality and morbidity, interventions addressing the health needs of young people have been limited. Young people often have less access to information, services and resources than those who are older. Health services are rarely designed specifically to meet their needs and health workers only occasionally receive specialist training in issues pertinent to adolescent sexual health. It is perhaps not surprising therefore that there are particularly low levels of health-seeking behaviour among young people. Similarly, young people in a variety of contexts have reported that access to contraception and condoms is difficult.Child and Adolescent Health Risks Essay

The negative health consequences of adolescents can pass from one generation to the next. For example, babies born to adolescent mothers have a high risk of being underweight or stillborn. They are also likely to suffer from the same social and economic disadvantages encountered by their mothers. That is why addressing the needs of adolescents is an intergenerational investment with huge benefits to subsequent generations (see Figure 1.1).

Young people standing in a circle
Figure 1.1 Young people are the future of societies and their needs should be addressed in order to have healthy and productive citizens.
If the nation is to address its rapid population growth, it is crucial to acknowledge the importance of the reproductive health concerns of adolescents and young people, particularly in their decisions related to avoidance of unwanted pregnancy.Child and Adolescent Health Risks Essay

1.2 Strategies for promoting the reproductive health of young people
The Government of Ethiopia has adopted policies and strategies to address some of the social, economic, educational and health problems faced by young people. Currently, national programmes are guided by a 10-year plan which is based on the ‘National Adolescent and Youth Reproductive Health Strategy 2006-2015’. Other key documents indicating government commitment include the Young People Policy issued in 2000, the Policy on HIV/AIDS launched in 1998, the Revised Family Laws amended in 2000 to protect young women’s rights, (for example against forced marriages), and the Revised Penal Code, which penalises sexual violence and many harmful traditional practices.Child and Adolescent Health Risks Essay

When developing and implementing interventions you need to take into account that while many adolescents and young people share common characteristics, their needs vary by age, sex, educational status, marital status, migration status and residence. When developing and implementing interventions you need to appreciate that you will have to work in different ways with different age groups.

An activity that is suitable for those in early adolescence (10-14 years old) may not be suitable for those in post-adolescence (20-24 years old). For instance, those in their early adolescence are more likely to be in primary schools, not yet married and hence less likely to have started sexual relationships, all of which determine the type of information and services that would be appropriate for them.

You need to give special attention to these vulnerable young adolescents (aged 10-14) and those at risk of irreversible harm to their reproductive health and rights (e.g. through forced sex, early marriage, poverty-driven exchanges of sex for gifts or money, and violence). As has already been mentioned, some groups are more vulnerable than others and it is to vulnerable individuals that you need to offer most help. In this Module you will gain an understanding of who these vulnerable individuals are and insight into their difficulties, and you will learn how you can help them.Child and Adolescent Health Risks Essay

You may have already recognised that men and women are not treated equally in your community. In general, girls and women are treated as inferior and they are given fewer privileges and less access to resources. The roles they have within your community are different to the roles given to men. Gender refers to the socially and culturally defined roles for males and females. These roles are learned over time, can change from time to time, and vary widely within and between cultures. In Study Session 6 there will be a discussion of the way that women are treated unfairly because of the way they are viewed within many communities. This gender inequality means that girls and women need your help to safeguard their sexual and reproductive health to a greater extent than do young boys and men.

In this Module you will also learn how you can help provide a group of services for young people, such as counselling, family planning, voluntary counselling and testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV, maternal and child health, and post-abortion care. You will learn how to involve other members of your community and how to find ways of working with them and you will recognise when you need to refer individuals for help at the next level of health facility.Child and Adolescent Health Risks Essay

1.3 Protecting adolescent sexual and reproductive health
Adolescent sexual and reproductive health refers to the physical and emotional wellbeing of adolescents and includes their ability to remain free from unwanted pregnancy, unsafe abortion, STIs (including HIV/AIDS), and all forms of sexual violence and coercion.

One of the important concerns of young people is their sexual relationships. In particular, young people need to know how they can maintain healthy personal relationships. It is important to keep in mind that sex is never 100% ‘safe’, but you can advise young people on how to make sex as safe as they possibly can. That is why you should always talk about ‘safer’ sex and not ‘safe sex’.Child and Adolescent Health Risks Essay

As a Health Extension Practitioner, you need to educate young people in what constitutes safer sex and the consequences of unsafe sexual practices. Safer sex is anything that can be done to lower the risk of STIs/HIV and pregnancy without reducing pleasure. The term reflects the idea that choices can be made and behaviours adopted to reduce or minimise risk.

Sexual activities may be defined as high risk, medium risk, low risk, or no risk based on the level of risk involved in contracting HIV or other STIs.

No risk
There are many ways to share sexual feelings that are not risky. Some of them include hugging, holding hands, massaging, rubbing against each other with clothes on, sharing fantasies, and self-masturbation.

Low risk
There are activities that are probably safe, such as using a condom for every act of sexual intercourse, masturbating your partner or masturbating together as long as males do not ejaculate near any opening or broken skin on their partners.Child and Adolescent Health Risks Essay

Medium risk
There are activities that carry some risk, such as introducing an injured finger into the vagina. Note that having sexual intercourse with improper use of a condom also carries a risk of HIV/STI transmission.

High risk
There are activities that are very risky because they lead to exposure to the body fluids in which HIV lives. This refers to having unprotected sexual intercourse.

Dual protection is the consistent use of a male or female condom in combination with a second contraceptive method, such as oral contraceptive pills. Often young people come to a healthcare facility for contraception and are given a method that protects them only from pregnancy. As a healthcare provider, you should ensure that all young people are using a method or combination of methods that protect them from both pregnancy and STIs/HIV to minimise their risk to the lowest level possible. Box 1.1 shows important components of adolescent and youth reproductive health programmes that should be available to all young people.Child and Adolescent Health Risks Essay

Box 1.1 Services that should be provided for young people
Information and counselling on sexual and reproductive health issues
Promotion of healthy sexual behaviours
Family planning information, counselling and methods of contraception (including emergency contraceptive methods)
Condom promotion and provision
Testing and counselling services for pregnancy, HIV and other STIs
Management of STIs
Antenatal care (ANC), delivery services, postnatal care (PNC) and pregnant mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT)
Abortion and post-abortion care
Appropriate referral linkage between health facilities at different levels.
1.4 Biological and psychosocial changes during adolescence
For young people, adolescence is all about change: in the way they think, in their bodies and in how they relate to others. As a Health Extension Practitioner it is important for you to know these changes in order to understand the special needs of young people and provide appropriate services.Child and Adolescent Health Risks Essay

1.4.1 Changes in thinking and reasoning (cognition)
Children tend to be concrete thinkers, mostly relying on literal, straightforward interpretation of ideas. In adolescence they become abstract thinkers, as they begin to be able to think abstractly and to conceptualise abstract ideas such as love, justice, fairness, truth and spirituality.

They start to analyse situations logically in terms of cause and effect, think about their futures, evaluate alternatives, set personal goals and make mature decisions.Child and Adolescent Health Risks Essay

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