Access To Health Care For 10-19 Aged Children Lacking
U.S. residents between ages 10 and 19 do not receive adequate medical care, according to a report recently released by the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine, the AP/Arizona Daily Star reports. The report found that the system of care for adolescents lacks coordination and proper design, as few physicians specialize in care for teens or provide comprehensive care that they trust.
According to the report, fewer than 500 doctors had certification as adolescent medicine specialists between 1996 and 2005. Only a small percentage of adolescents have undergone screenings for risky behaviors that would allow physicians to intervene, the report found.
Most adolescents visit physicians regularly, but the examinations that they receive often do not adequately assess their health risks, according to the report.
Although rates of pregnancy and smoking among adolescents have decreased in the past 10 years, the report found that improvements in the health of adolescents remain limited. In addition, physical activity among adolescents has decreased in the past 10 years, and rates of chronic diseases such as asthma and diabetes have increased, the report found.
The report also found that, although between 10% and 20% of adolescents annually experience a mental health disorder such as anxiety or depression, their access to specialized mental health care has decreased in the past 10 years (Neergaard, AP/Arizona Daily Star, 1/6).
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