Report details impact of neglecting adolescent health

The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases and Pfizer, Inc., said on Thursday that young people are overlooked in the United States healthcare system, which may lead to further economic burden on the healthcare system.

In a report titled "The Case for Improving Adolescent Health: Helping prepare adolescents for a healthy future," NFID and Pfizer suggest that an annual preventative care visit or checkup provides an important moment in disease prevention and health guidance during teen years.

"It's important that teens and those who care for them better understand how their behaviors impact health into adulthood, and that we enable adolescents, their parents and their healthcare professionals to focus on the value of addressing disease prevention at an early age," NFID Medical Director Susan Rehm said.

NFID said medical visits provide an opportunity for adolescents to have confidential medical discussions, as well as ensure they are vaccinated against vaccine-preventable diseases such as meningitis, whooping cough and human papillomavirus infection.

The report said that emotional and mental health, contraction of vaccine-preventable diseases, alcohol and drug use, obesity and risky behavior, such as bingeing and purging, might be addressed and improved by more frequent doctor visits.

The report was completed with a national survey of more than 2,000 teens, parents and healthcare officials.