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Adolescence is a very delicate period in one's life.

It arouses various internal conflicts, as an adolescent is neither a child and nor an adult yet. It is a very challenging period for the parents too, as parenting teenagers involves coping with their moods and behavioral changes. Read more at Buzzle: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/adolescent-developmentstages.html
Adolescents young people between the ages of 10 and 19 years are often thought of as a healthy group. Nevertheless, many adolescents do die prematurely due to accidents, suicide, violence, pregnancy related complications and other illnesses that are either preventable or treatable. Many more suffer chronic ill-health and disability. In addition, many serious diseases in adulthood have their roots in adolescence. For example, tobacco use, sexually transmitted infections including HIV, poor eating and exercise habits, lead to illness or premature death later in life.

http://www.who.int/topics/adolescent_health/en/
The behavioral patterns established during these developmental periods help determine young people's current health status and their risk for developing chronic diseases in adulthood.2

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

Homicide Suicide Motor vehicle crashes, including those caused by drinking and driving Substance use and abuse Smoking Sexually transmitted infections, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) Teen and unplanned pregnancies Homelessness Because they are in developmental transition, adolescents and young adults are particularly sensitive to environmentalthat is, contextual or surroundinginfluences.3 Environmental factors, including family, peer group, school, neighborhood, policies, and societal cues, can either support or challenge young peoples health and well-being.4 Addressing the positive

development of young people facilitates their adoption of healthy behaviors and helps to ensure a healthy and productive future adult population.5 The leading causes of illness and death among adolescents and young adults are largely preventable.3 Health outcomes for adolescents and young adults are grounded in their social environments and are frequently mediated by their behaviors. Behaviors of young people are influenced at the individual, peer, family, school, community, and societal levels.

http://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topicsobjectives2020/overview.aspx?topicid=2
During the transition from childhood to adulthood, adolescents establish patterns of behavior and make lifestyle choices that affect both their current and future health. Serious health and safety issues such as motor vehicle crashes, violence, substance use, and risky sexual behaviors can adversely affect adolescent and young adults. Some adolescents also struggle to adopt behaviors that could decrease their risk of developing chronic diseases in adulthood, such as eating nutritiously, engaging in physical activity, and choosing not to use tobacco. Environmental factors such as family, peer group, school, and community characteristics also contribute to adolescents' health and risk behaviors.

Societal Influences on Adolescents and Young Adults


Young people's behaviors are influenced at the individual, peer, family, school, community, and societal levels. Because many sectors of society contribute to adolescent health, safety, and well-being, a collaborative effort that engages multiple partners is necessary. Such joint efforts can also help to promote a more comprehensive approach to addressing adolescent healthone that views each adolescent as a whole person, recognizing and drawing upon his or her assets and not just focusing on risks. To have the most positive impact on adolescent health, government agencies, community organizations, schools, and other community members must work together in a comprehensive approach. Providing safe and nurturing environments for our nations youth can help ensure that adolescents will be healthy and productive members of society.

http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/adolescenthealth/index.htm
The major causes of mortality and morbidity among teenagers have shifted from infectious to behavioral etiologies. Those shifts were accompanied in the 1980s by a rising national concern over adolescent pregnancv and parenting. teenage substance abuse. and a range of health risk behaviors.

http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/pdf/10.2105/AJPH.86.4.513
As adolescents begin individuation from their parents and become increasingly concerned about peer acceptance, they are especially vulnerable for engaging in risky behaviors.

http://www.utmb.edu/pedi_ed/CORE/AdolescentMedicine/page_26.htm
Adolescence (from Latin: adolescere meaning "to grow up") is a transitional stage of physical and psychological human development generally occurring during the period [1][2][3] from puberty to legal adulthood (age of majority). The period of adolescence is most closely [3][4][5][6] associated with the teenage years, although its physical, psychological and cultural expressions can begin earlier and end later. For example, although puberty has been historically associated with the onset of adolescent development, it now typically begins prior to the teenage years and there has been a normative shift of it occurring in preadolescence, particularly in [4][7][8] females (see early and precocious puberty). Physical growth, as distinct from puberty (particularly in males), and cognitive development generally seen in adolescence, can also extend into the early twenties. Thus chronological age provides only a rough marker of adolescence, and scholars have found it difficult to agree upon a precise definition of [7][8][9][10] adolescence. A thorough understanding of adolescence in society depends on information from various perspectives, most importantly from the areas of psychology, biology,history, sociology, education, and anthropology. Within all of these perspectives, adolescence is viewed as a transitional period between childhood and adulthood [11] whose cultural purpose is the preparation of children for adult roles.
[1]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolescence
There are basically three stages which every child goes through, although the ages at which the child experiences these and the duration of each stage varies. Here are the three stages of adolescent development.

Early Stage (12-14 years) This is the first among the adolescent development stages. It is usually experienced between the years 12 and 14. These are the characteristics displayed by them during the early stage. In this stage, the teens are still coming to terms with whom they are. They experience moodiness and are often irritable. They are still developing their communication skills, so they express themselves better by actions rather than by words. During early adolescence, the girls outperform boys and develop skills faster. There is a tendency to show off one's skills and qualities. Family ties are weak and parents are no longer looked up to like before. There is more trust in the friendships forged outside home. Sense of dressing and interests depend upon that of the friends. Friendships are mostly among the same sex. Sometimes, the teen may display childish behavior. Teens like to experiment with their bodies and thus resort to masturbation. Teens are still discovering their sexuality and may worry whether they are sexually normal or not. Teens may experiment with forbidden substances, such as cigarettes or alcohol. Middle Stage (14-17 years) This is experienced by adolescents between the years 14 and 17. Here are a few characteristics displayed by them during the middle stage. There is a somewhat developed sense of self-identity. The focus shifts on self-improvement. Teens lay great emphasis on the body and the outer appearance. The changes in the body due to puberty may make them self-conscious of their bodies. Sometimes, the teen might feel very inferior to others too. Relationship with the parents becomes stressful. The teen finds his parents interfering and thus, may emotionally withdraw from them. The teen may feel that he has lost the support of his parents and this might make him feel sad and lonely. Focus of the teen is on making new friends. The teen identifies with his peer group. Intellectual development starts taking place. The teen starts analyzing his inner self. The teen has a heightened sexual energy and may experience love and passion for the first time. The teen forms relationships with the opposite sex and may enter and exit relationships very quickly. The teen is still discovering his sexuality, considers both homosexuality and heterosexuality. Sex education at this stage, thus, is very essential. A sense of morality and ethics develops in a teenager.

The teen selects his role models and even sets goals for himself. Late Stage (17-19 years) This stage is experienced between the years 17 and 19. Here are the characteristics displayed by adolescents. The sense of self-identity deepens and the teen develops a sense of self-esteem. Intellectual development progresses. Communication skills are developed and the teen is able to express himself well. Stability in emotions and interests is exhibited. The teen starts taking his relationships with the opposite sex seriously. The teen is able to take independent decisions and starts relying on himself rather than his parents or friends. The teen loses the typical childhood trait of stubbornness and is able to compromise on various issues. The teen starts thinking about the future for the first time. The teen starts questioning his existence - about what role he is going to play in the world. He identifies his sexual preferences and is able to express love and concern for others. The teen starts accepting the social institutions and traditions.

Read more at Buzzle: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/adolescent-development-stages.html

The behavioral patterns established during these developmental periods help determine young people's current health status and their risk for developing chronic diseases in adulthood.2

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

Homicide Suicide Motor vehicle crashes, including those caused by drinking and driving Substance use and abuse Smoking Sexually transmitted infections, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) Teen and unplanned pregnancies Homelessness Because they are in developmental transition, adolescents and young adults are particularly sensitive to environmentalthat is, contextual or surroundinginfluences.3 Environmental factors, including family, peer group, school, neighborhood, policies, and societal cues, can either support or challenge young peoples health and well-being.4 Addressing the positive development of young people facilitates their adoption of healthy behaviors and helps to ensure a healthy and productive future adult population.5

Why Is Adolescent Health Important?


Adolescence is a critical transitional period that includes the biological changes of puberty and the need to negotiate key developmental tasks, such as increasing independence and normative experimentation.3, 5, 6

There are many examples of effective policies and programs that address adolescent health issues. They include:

State graduated driver licensing programs7 Teen pregnancy prevention programs8, 9 Violence prevention programs10, 11, 12, 13 Delinquency prevention programs14 Mental health and substance abuse interventions15, 16 HIV prevention interventions17, 18 The financial burdens of preventable health problems in adolescence are large and include the long-term costs of chronic diseases that are a result of behaviors begun during adolescence. For example, the annual adult health-related financial burden of cigarette smoking, which usually starts by age 18,19, 20 is $193 billion.21

Adolescent Health
Overview
During the transition from childhood to adulthood, adolescents establish patterns of behavior and make lifestyle choices that affect both their current and future health. Serious health and safety issues such as motor vehicle crashes, violence, substance use, and risky sexual behaviors can adversely affect adolescent and young adults. Some adolescents also struggle to adopt behaviors that could decrease their risk of developing chronic diseases in adulthood, such as eating nutritiously, engaging in physical activity, and choosing not to use tobacco. Environmental factors such as family, peer group, school, and community characteristics also contribute to adolescents' health and risk behaviors.

Societal Influences on Adolescents and Young Adults

Young people's behaviors are influenced at the individual, peer, family, school, community, and societal levels. Because many sectors of society contribute to adolescent health, safety, and well-being, a collaborative effort that engages multiple partners is necessary. Such joint efforts can also help to promote a more comprehensive approach to addressing adolescent healthone that views each adolescent as a whole person, recognizing and drawing upon his or her assets and not just focusing on risks. To have the most positive impact on adolescent health, government agencies, community organizations, schools, and other community members must work together in a comprehensive approach. Providing safe and nurturing environments for our nations youth can help ensure that adolescents will be healthy and productive members of society.

http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/adolescenthealth/index.htm Smoking
A SURVEY conducted by the Department of Health showed that Filipino children as young as five years old are already starting to smoke. On the other hand, the National Youth Commission recently reported that two out of every five Filipino teenagers took up smoking in 2011. Filipinos start smoking at a young age. An editor-in-chief of a weekly magazine admitted that he started smoking when he was only 14. Until now, he is still hooked with the habit. "If I don't quit smoking, I would probably get lung cancer," he said. Every year, 87,600 Filipinos die of smoking-related ailments that include lung cancer and chronic lung diseases. "(Smoking) is essentially a man-induced disaster that is causing more deaths than all the fatalities due to natural calamities, vehicular accidents, rebellion and all other disasters, either natural or mancaused," said Dr. Rafael R. Castillo, one of the country's top cardiologists. In a country where laws abound, there are no national laws prohibiting minors from buying cigarettes. In fact, many vendors of cigarettes are children. Studies show that as many as 40 percent of adolescents boys smoke. "The majority of adults who smoke cigarettes begin smoking during adolescence," noted The Merck Manual of Medical Information. "If an adolescent reaches the age of 18 to 19 years without becoming a smoker, it is highly unlikely that he will become a smoker as an adult. Factors that increase the likelihood of an adolescent smoking are having parents who smoke, peers who smoke, and poor self-esteem." Smoking is one of the most common forms of recreational drug use. Today, cigarette smoking is practiced by over one billion people in the majority of all human societies. The history of smoking can be dated to as early as 5000 BC, and has been recorded in many different cultures across the world. "Tobacco is a dirty weed, but I like it," Graham Lee Hemminger said. "It satisfies no normal need, still I like it. It makes you thin, it makes you lean. It takes the hair right off your bean. Its the worst darn stuff Ive ever seen. I like it."

Many people around the world are hooked to smoking and just can't quit. Even President Benigno Simeon Noynoy Aquino III couldnt stop himself from smoking. A former colleague in the senate told reporters that the president smokes about one or two packets a day. When health groups asked Aquino to quit smoking "to set a good example for the country," Aquino rejected the call. As long as he followed smoking regulations and did not bother anyone, he said he should be free to smoke. "This is one of my few remaining freedoms," the president pointed out. Smoking is dangerous to your health, so goes the warning. But smokers can't just quit because they are addicted to it. What makes cigarette smoking so deadly? Well, it contains about 4,000 chemical agents, including over 60 cancer-causing chemicals. In addition, many of these substances, such as carbon monoxide, tar, arsenic, and lead, are poisonous and toxic to the human body. Nicotine is a drug that is naturally present in the tobacco plant and is primarily responsible for a persons addiction to tobacco products, including cigarettes. During smoking, nicotine is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream and travels to the brain in a matter of seconds. Nicotine causes addiction to cigarettes and other tobacco products that is similar to the addiction produced by using heroin and cocaine. Carbon dioxide, on the other hand, interferes directly with the ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen. This causes shortness of breath, lack of endurance, and promotes and accelerates narrowing and hardening of the arteries. The children must know the evils of smoking -- and the government must help. Protecting childre n and youth from tobacco is a battle with a well-financed and supremely well-organized adversary, said Dr. Derek Yach, who was once in-charge with WHOs Tobacco Free Initiative. If we expect young people to resist tobacco use, it is essential that we provide governments with meaningful, effective alternatives to becoming accessories to tobacco promotion. Are there people whom today's youth can emulate? Frankly speaking, there are few movie stars who dont smoke at all. To name a few: Sean Penn, Pierce Brosnan, Ted Danson, Jeremy London, Esai Morales, and supermodel Christy Turlington. These people are speaking out against smoking. Children who havent tried smoking yet must be told not to touch any cigarette. Not starting the habit is easier than quitting smoking. Listen to the story of Benjamin, a 45-year-old former chain smoker who started the habit when he was still a teenager: I quit smoking several years ago, but I still live with the effects of being a one -time nicotine addict. The most sinister one is the knowledge that I can slide back to being a smoker just like that. The addiction is that strong.

http://www.sunstar.com.ph/davao/feature/2012/10/02/rise-teenage-smoking-245854
While quitting smoking remains one of the best prevention methods to avoid dying prematurely and antismoking advocates have not been remiss in their campaigns, and yet, smoking continues. For this post, I'd like to focus on teenage smokers and explore why they try to smoke and continue to smoke. Here are some facts:

4 out 10 students aged 13-15 years old smoke cigarettes. [CDC-MMWR, 2005]

Almost one fifth of young Filipinos begin smoking before age 10. [Miguel-Baquilod, M., NEC, 2001]

70 percent of boys begin smoking by age 20. Among Filipino girls, residence in cosmopolitan Metro Manila is associated with high probability of smoking, and those who were raised with both parents present were less likely to smoke than those who grew up with a single parent. Also, for both genders, those who have close relationships with parents were less likely to smoke [Teen Tobacco Epidemic in Asia, 2004]

Among factors influencing smoking, the following are significant: (1) media advertising, (2) exposure to smoke in public places, and (3) one or more parents who smoke. [CDC-MMWR, 2005]

This is the most ironic and puzzling part: nearly 90 percent (88.7% in 2003) of Filipino adolescents supports the ban on smoking in public places, and want to quit (88.2% in 2003). [CDC-MMWR, 2005]

A very small percentage (7.2% in 2000 and 3.8% in 2003) admitted that they wanted their first cigarette thirty minutes after waking up in the morning. [CDC-MMWR, 2005]

In 1983, the popularity of Marlboro among youth exceeded that in the adult population. Marlboro then held a 3540 percent share in Metro Manila but "more than 50%" in high schools. [Mason, W., 1983]

62.8 percent of Filipino adolescents are not refused purchase when buying tobacco products in a store. [CDC-MMWR, 2005]

More males had tried quitting than females. One woman wondered why she should divorce her favorite Hope (a brand of cigarette), her constant companion, while another refused to quit for fear of weight gain. [Health Promotion Int., 2003]

In one investigation, it was found out that among female Filipino smokers, smoking is seen as a substitute for expressing feelings, particularly anger and unhappiness. [Kaufman, N. J. and Nichter, M., 2001]

The Philippines is the 15th biggest consumer of cigarettes in the world, and the largest cigarette consumer among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). [PDI, 2002 and WHO, 2001]