Overweight and obesity
Overweight and obesity are serious problems, as they lead to decreased physical activity and diseases of the cardiovascular system. It is noted that the percentage of obesity and overweight among children and adolescents increases with age (Prevalence of childhood obesity, n.d). This fact identifies a gap in existing programs that place a lack of emphasis on preventive measures. It is necessary to inform children at an earlier age about the possibility of developing symptoms.
Alcohol and tobacco use
Depression and associated mental disorders are significant indicators for adolescents. It is reported that the risk of symptoms in adolescents 12-17 years is significantly higher than that of younger ones (Children mental health, n.d). Additionally, the number of adolescents with depression symptoms increased from 8% in 2007 to 13% in 2017 (Geiger & Davis, 2019, para. 2). Existing programs have a gap in addressing the mental health of the target population.
The use of alcohol and tobacco is a significant indicator as it leads to the development of cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases, as well as the deterioration of existing conditions. Nowak et al (2018) report that “about 25% of American adolescents drink alcohol, 11% smoke cigarettes, and as much as 20% use illicit substances” (p. 6). Griffin et al. (2019) emphasize that alcohol and tobacco use among adolescents increases the risk of illicit drug abuse and prescription drug abuse in early adulthood. Thus, programs should focus more on preventing the spread of the use of alcohol and tobacco among adolescents.
The prevalence of adolescent suicide is a significant predictor of mental health in adolescents. It is reported that “the suicide rate among adolescents and young adults aged 10–24 in the United States increased 57.4% from 6.8 per 100,000 in 2007 to 10.7 in 2018 ” (Curtin, 2020, p. 3). These statistics reflect the need for regular checkups of the mental health of the population, which is the gap in programs.
Drug overdose or poisoning
Drug overdose is also an important indicator of mortality for adolescents. In 2019, it killed 4,777 adolescents between the ages of 15 and 24 (Drug overdoses in youth, n.d). Additionally, there has been an overall increase in overdose deaths in the US since 2018 (Hedegaard et al., 2020). The programs do not focus on screening adolescents for drug use, nor do they provide information to the public.
Children’s mental health. (n.d). Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Web.
Curtin, S. C. (2020). State suicide rates among adolescents and young adults aged 10–24: the United States, 2000–2018. National Vital Statistics Reports, 69(11), 1-6.
T k Drug overdoses in youth. (n.d). National Institute on Drug Abuse. Web.