Adolescents are full of energy, have significant drive and new ideas. They are a positive force for a Nation and are responsible for its future productivity provided they develop in a healthy manner. Since mortality in this age group is relatively low the adolescents are considered to be healthy. However, Mortality is a misleading measure of adolescent health. In fact, the adolescents do have a range of health problems that cause a lot of morbidity as well as definite mortality.
Adolescents and young adults are adversely affected by serious health and safety issues such as motor vehicle crashes, violence, substance use, and sexual behavior. They also struggle to adapt behaviors that could decrease their risk of developing chronic diseases in adulthood—behaviors 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 the challenges that adolescents face.
Adolescence has been described as the transition period in life when an individual is no longer a child, but not yet an adult. It is a period in which an individual undergoes enormous physical and psychological changes. It is a period of sexual and reproductive maturity. The individual’s capacity for abstract and critical thinking also develops.
There is evidence to suggest that confident young people who feel supported by their families and friends are better able to successfully negotiate any potential pitfalls. However, it should be remembered that adolescence is typically a time for experimenting with risky behaviours, despite good parenting practices and role modelling.