The health of children and adolescents is a highly important priority for any state. It is the responsibility of the department of health to implement health measures aimed at protecting and promoting the health of children and adolescents. Prevailing in the system of organization of medical care for teenagers consists of three parts: clinics, hospitals and sanatoriums (Charles and Heaven). Children’s clinics and outpatient clinics have a leading role in a wide range of recreational activities for the development and education of teenagers, improving the health of the younger generation (Mahfouz and El-Said). Adolescent health in US is one of the most important national problems. Health to adolescents includes systematic monitoring of their health and physical development through annual in-depth medical examinations, as well as, educating them to take care of their health themselves. Education is essential for early detection and prevention of various diseases. The paper discusses the importance of health education among teenagers and various initiatives for health education of teenagers.
The importance of health education for teenagers is high since the effectiveness of health education at this level has long-term impact on national health. Policy makers are beginning to realize that adolescents as a group has been underserved by society in general and schools in particular. Coleman & Roker (1998) states “People ignored the basic needs of their young, too often scrambling to fix one problem teenagers at the time, instead of to work to prevent them. entire age group is at risk, not just low-income or disadvantaged teenagers”. There are some critical elements of teenage health education which are most important to be addressed.
Alcoholism The rate of alcoholism among American teenagers is on the rise. Till date there has been very low attention to preventive measures are not involved in the media (or insufficiently), inefficient government or community programs, is not highly effective special methods of dealing with alcoholism and drunkenness among adolescents, etc. Prevention of adolescent alcoholism has medical and social side (Stanner). Medical side comes to health education, as well as identifying individuals at increased risk of teenage alcoholism.
Health education is reduced to disseminate information about the dangers of alcohol to the health of adolescents and the first symptoms of the emerging alcoholism. For teens, medical information is presented together with the social (Mahfouz and El-Said). Teenagers associated drinking with growing older and gradually accept it as normal behavior, no longer see the obvious harmful effects, and often hear from adults who drink the contrary to the information (Baker). This explains the negative attitude to the promotion of alcohol among teenagers.
Prevention of adolescent alcoholism must be taken care through the following communication channels: lectures, pamphlets, talks, books, films, radio programs, television programs. A highly essential element of teenager health education is identifying teenagers at high risk for alcoholism. Teenagers at high risk for alcoholism are teenagers living with drinking parents, communicating with friends drinking, teens who are away from home, skipping school, drive to the police, non-sustainable and teenagers from orphanages (Stanner). It is important to focus health education pertaining to abstinence on this group. In a survey of young people were divided into two groups: those with moderate habits, and with a negative attitude to alcohol. It turned out that 67% of adolescents with moderate habits after 2 years began to abuse alcohol, and only 7% of adolescents in the second group began to abuse alcohol. Teenagers with a penchant for alcohol should be under constant supervision.
Drug Abuse Teenage drug addiction first began to emerge in the U.S. and other Western countries in the late 50’s and continues to be a national concern since then. Scientists studying drug abuse among adolescents, noted the following age-specific features:
– Periodic abuse without dependence on drugs dominates formed addiction.
– Teenage drug addiction is constantly rejuvenated
– Teenagers have learned to synthesize drugs from pharmaceutical drugs, which are highly toxic and mortality
Teens tend to experiment and alternately try different drugs. Teenage drug addiction develops because of the impact on adolescent social and psychological factors, especially in adverse biological background (alcohol or drug abuse in the parents, unstable, etc.).Drug abuse among adolescents treated seriously, this is due to the fact that adolescents seldom give voluntary consent to the compulsory treatment of drug addiction, and therefore, the role of education is highly important (Baker).
Prevention of adolescent drug abuse must begin with health education. Health education must aim to uncover the terrible damage that drugs can deliver. However, even the most robust and effective prevention of adolescent drug abuse will be ineffectual if the teenager will be surrounded by adults who use drugs (drinking – is a type of drug), or particularly close friends. In adolescents, it seems that all the programs about the dangers of drugs greatly exaggerated the harm of drugs, created a false notion that if one wants to quit then it is easy to quit, etc (Mahfouz and El-Said). Education of adolescent drug abuse should be conducted by experienced professionals who are able to identify adolescents at risk.
Sex Education Improving hygiene awareness among young people is possible only with proper sexual education. Sex education of the younger generation is a matter of great national importance. It should be actively involved doctors, teachers, educators, lawyers, etc. Young people should get the necessary information on sexual health, gender relations, risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases in sexual promiscuity (Mahfouz and El-Said). Typical lecture on sexually transmitted diseases should be developed by medical specialists and staff houses of health education. Health education lectures should be designed for a specific audience and the appropriate level of knowledge of a given population.
Health education of teenagers and younger population is much more than the study of nutrition classes in order to provide nutritious food or a demonstration on how to brush your teeth to provide oral healthcare. Health education of teenagers entails working with parents, families and communities to create an enabling environment for youth. Health education is sensitive to the social stigma faced by children like Kelly (Charles and Heaven). Health education includes enabling teenagers to make choices based on critical thinking in order to understand the fortress to protect themselves, the development of values that promote personal growth and useful activities, to understand interpersonal relationships and the development of satisfying human relationships, developing the ability to think for themselves caring for others, for family for school children and the extended community.
Teenager Health Education in US In US, health education is an integral part of the education reform. Two very powerful movements in education reform say about the role of health education in pre-service teacher education and professional development programs for certified teachers. The first includes a comprehensive model of school related services for the organization of schools and teaching. The second is the development of specific subject matter standards for student achievement. As in other subjects, standards of health education provide a basis for assessing student learning, organization of the content of curricula, educational focus, and, indirectly, to focus on the training of teachers.
Teachers and administrators who use these standards as a guide for the selection and design of training programs may include normal content areas: public health, consumer health, the environment, health and family life, mental and emotional health, injury prevention and safety, nutrition, personal health, disease prevention and control, as well as drug use and violence. However, interesting educational approach proposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Charles and Heaven). It is the organization of teaching units for adolescents in all risk behaviors: tobacco use, diet that contributes to disease, lack of exercise, sexual behaviors that lead to HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies, alcohol and other drug use, behavior that result in intentional and unintentional injuries (Stanner).
Formation of National Health Education Standards A highly important initiative to promote health education among teenagers is formation of National Health Education Standards. The objectives of National Health Education Standards are:
1. Youth will understand the concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention.
2. Youth will demonstrate the ability to access valid health information and promotion of goods and services.
3. Youth will demonstrate the ability to practice health behaviors and reduce health risks.
4. Youth will analyze the influence of culture, media, technology and other factors on health.
5. Youth will demonstrate the ability to use interpersonal skills to enhance health.
6. Youth will demonstrate the ability to use goal-setting and decision-making skills to enhance health.
7. Youth will demonstrate their ability to act as personal, family and public health.
The paper discusses the importance of health education among teenagers and various initiatives for health education of teenagers. It is concluded that teenage health education is much more than study of nutrition classes in order to provide nutritious food. It is found that impact of teenage health education are long term for a nation’s health and consequently highly important.
Baker, P. Teenage Pregnancy and Reproductive Health. California: RCOG Press, 2006.
Charles, P and L Heaven. Adolescent Health: The Role of Individual Differences. New York: Routledge Publishing, 2009.
Coleman, J and D Roker. Teenage Sexuality: Health, Risk and Education. New York: Routledge Publishing, 1998.
Mahfouz, A and M El-Said. “Teenage pregnancy: are teenagers a high risk group? .” European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, 59(1) (1995): 17-20.
Stanner, S. “Nutrition and teenagers.” Women’s Health Medicine, 1(1) (2004): 6-10.