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teens.  How do we prevent disease and risky behaviors?

teens. How do we prevent disease and risky behaviors?

“HeyAdolescents do not need to go to the doctor, they are healthy.” This is a phrase that reflects a common thinking rooted in society. However, although adolescents are generally healthy, many diseases and dangerous behaviors appear in this critical period of the psyche

Adolescence is a period of greater vulnerability, exacerbated and exacerbated in the past few years of the pandemic, by the forced change in models of family, school and social life for young people, with an impact on the well-being and mental health of this generation.

What are the most important diseases that affect adolescents?

Mental illnesses are the main causes of morbidity that have an impact on longevity in Portuguese adolescents, with an emphasis on depression, followed by behavioral disturbances and anxiety in the youngest and then road accidents (boys) and gynecology (girls) in the young. Seniors (15-19 years).

The main causes of death among adolescents in Portugal are congenital malformations, respiratory infections, tumors, road accidents, suicide and other self-inflicted injuries.

Can they be prevented?

Most diseases affecting young people are preventable, and are often associated with behavioral risk factors, specifically those that contribute to accidents and violence, sexually transmitted diseases, consumption (alcohol, tobacco, and drugs), nutritional imbalances, physical inactivity, and associated weight gain. and obesity.

Risk behaviors are greatly influenced, positively or negatively, by environmental factors, which include family, school, peers, community, and society, to which the adolescent is particularly sensitive. Therefore, promoting adolescent health and well-being is based on the prevention of these behaviors through positive intervention in these factors.

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By giving an example, parents, teachers, friends, health professionals, idols, etc. are promoting adolescent health. It is not enough to say “if you drink, do not drive”, it is necessary to show that when we drink we do not drive. It is not enough to say “do physical exercise”, but suggest a walk or a game of volleyball, for example with the family, with easily accessible public places such as gymnasiums, parks and bike paths.

Health promotion and disease prevention also depends on encouraging surveillance counseling and periodic health check-ups for adolescents, even when we think they are ‘healthy’.

Why is it important to promote adolescent health promotion?

Investing in global adolescent health with a focus on prevention, promotion of healthy behaviors, and early diagnosis has a significant impact not only on adolescent health problems, but also on future health throughout adulthood and on maximizing the educational, occupational, and occupational potential of young people.

The importance of this investment contrasts with the low attendance of Portuguese adolescents for health monitoring consultations. It is essential to encourage, promote and disseminate adolescent health in Portugal.

What is the impact of the epidemic on the health of young people?

The past few years have been difficult for the health and normal development of adolescents who now deserve special attention. During the epidemic, many behavioral and mental illnesses worsened. The disturbing social environment, uncertainty about the future, changes in the normal functioning of education, isolation resulting from confinement and disruption of normal social dynamics contributed to the excitation and deepening of anxiety disorders, depression, and other mental and behavioral illnesses.
Sedentary behaviors were emphasized and sports and physical activity habits that had already begun were discontinued, which had consequences for the prevalence of obesity and overweight.

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* Article signed by Carla Santos and Hugo de Castro Faria, Pediatricians at the Center for Children and Adolescents at CUF Descobertas Hospital

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