Therefore, and AIDS often does not producemorbidity and

Therefore, a careful analysis of the community structures is essential tounderstand the context of health choices.

278). Provision of appropriate and effective adolescent health care necessitates a wide rangeof knowledge, skills and attitudes going beyond traditional approaches used in an illness framework.Nurses and midwives must have a sound background in adolescent growth and development and thecompetencies necessary to assess health, given the wide range of physical, emotional and psychosocialskills that an adolescent might possess at a given age.While the majority of adolescent morbidity and mortality is preventable, health providers, communities andpolicy-makers have not given adequate attention to opportunities for health promotion and preventionactivities. Changing social norms have led to a number of health problems for adolescents (WPRO, 2000).Adolescent health attitudes and practices not only impact on immediate health status but have long-termconsequences, many of which are associated with serious health problems such as cardiac disease, cancer,respiratory illness, and AIDS.

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Adolescents must be partners in healthcare with their families when determining a plan of health. 25). Adolescence is “characterized by many rapid, interrelatedchanges of body, mind and social relationships” (WHO, 1997, p. There has been growing acceptance of theneed to view health from a contextual perspective, recognizing the social forces that shape health and wellbeing.Adolescent health issues vary according to culture and sex (Alzubaidi, Upton & Baluch, 1998).

Adolescent health that is viewed solely from the individual perspective without consideration ofenvironmental, cultural, social, economic and political environments will not produce the solutionsnecessary to promote health. 4). Sexually transmitted infections are “responsible for a variety of health problems and haveespecially serious consequences for adolescents and young adults” (Panchaud et al., 2000, p. “Practices such as smoking tobacco products, use of other addictive substances,or sexual activity without protection from sexually transmitted infections and AIDS often does not producemorbidity and mortality in adolescence itself, rather the effects, and the costs, develop over a lifetime” (Burt,1998, p. It is important to consider thenecessary education that students must possess regarding the nature of adolescents, their stage ofdevelopment, health issues and the barriers and challenges to health within their environments.

One of the basic challenges for health practitioners is understanding the developmental processes ofadolescence. The unpredictable rate ofchange for all aspects of development related to adolescence creates additional complexity for those whodeliver health care. The degree of family and adult connectedness as well as community health isrecognized as being protective, decreasing risk and enhancing resiliency (WHO, 2000a; 2000b).Adolescents make health choices from an assessment of costs and benefits within the context of their lives.Many may be modifiable by health promotion and prevention strategies.

3). Adolescence is a dynamic period of growth and development that bridges childhood to adulthood, whilebeing distinctly different from both groups. “Adolescence itself is a period of profound cognitive, physical, social and moral development,none of which adheres to a perfectly predictable course” (SAM, 1999, p.

Adolescence,therefore, is a time when creative health strategies and demonstrated interventions can prevent disease andenhance the potential for life-long behaviour that will contribute to the health of the world’s people.”Researchers and practitioners working in adolescent health often make a mistake in thinking about youngpeople, that addressing the parts — whether it be sexual behaviour, substance use, or schooling —somehow would take care of the whole person” (Scales, 1999). Additionally, adolescents must have a greater voice in explainingtheir health choices in an atmosphere that encourages dialogue. There is an acknowledged gap inadolescent health research related to “how race, ethnicity, gender and socioeconomic status influence,individually and interactively, the development of health values, perceived health options and health