Other Youth Topics

Adolescent Health

Youth standing in a hallway talking

Adolescence is an important time for promoting health and preventing disease; one that is sometimes overlooked. Most of the nation’s 42 million adolescents,1 who are between the ages of 10 and 19, are generally healthy. In recent years, the United States has seen declines in sexual risk behaviors, teen births, smoking, and use of some substances, as well as higher academic achievement for younger adolescents.2,3 However, all adolescents can benefit from guidance on how to improve their health and development during these years—and for some, serious challenges remain.

Adolescent health encompasses changing transitions within multiple domains, including the physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and intellectual. The fast-paced development of these different domains can lead to phenomenal growth during this period. This growth can also occur at different rates, which can put adolescents at a higher risk for risk-taking behaviors and emerging mental health issues. It is important to understand adolescent development, environmental influences, and the risk and protective factors that can affect adolescent health so that organizations and individuals who work with youth can support the health and healthy development of all adolescents.

Resources

Promoting Positive Adolescent Health Behaviors and Outcomes: Thriving in the 21st Century
This report identifies key program factors that can improve health outcomes related to adolescent behavior and provides evidence-based recommendations toward effective implementation of federal programming initiatives. This study explores normative adolescent development, the current landscape of adolescent risk behavior, core components of effective programs focused on optimal health, and recommendations for research, programs, and policies.

2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) Results
These reports present information about the percentages of high school and middle school students who engage in certain risk behaviors, along with the status of school health policies and programs designed to address those behaviors.

Facts & Stats
On this Office of Population Affairs webpage, you can access the latest numbers and facts about adolescent health at the national and state levels. Find information on changing demographics and how adolescents spend their time.

The Changing Face of America’s Adolescents
This webpage from the Office of Population Affairs gives a comprehensive overview of adolescent health topics such as health outcomes, health disparities, and regional differences.

Division of Adolescent and School Health
The Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer additional information on adolescent health topics including fact sheets, data and statistics, and publications and other resources.

Results from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health
This report from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health provides the latest results from the survey, covering key indicators of substance use and mental health in the U.S. including findings on adolescents.

References

1 U.S. Census Bureau, 2014
2 Martin, Hamilton, Osterman, & Driscoll, 2019; Johnston et al., 2019; National Center for Education Statistics, 2017
3 Kann, et al., 2018