As young people advance through puberty, a number of health risks increase, according to a UMCG study that was published on 10 June. The relevant organizations are already taking action by providing extra contact time for adolescents.
On 10 June, principal researcher Prof. Menno Reijneveld (Social Medicine) presented the results of the research to the Director of Public Health (Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport).
The results show that problems in a number of areas increase considerably in adolescence. This increase is greater in certain groups, such as young people with low-skilled parents and in lower levels of education. However, the differences between groups are relatively small; all youngsters need attention. A reliable assessment of the risks that apply to young people helps in providing the best advice. Tailored prevention programmes can then be offered, for example in the form of information and computer feedback.
The UMCG carried out the research for the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, which provided funding of € 15 million in 2012 for local authorities to develop an extra preventive contact moment with adolescents. The GGD (community health services) and JGZ (youth health services) organizations are hard at work finding ways to provide the extra contact time. The research shows that extra contact time definitely helps to prevent health risks in this vulnerable group.
The study Stabiliteit en verandering van psychosociale gezondheid en leefstijl bij adolescenten en mogelijkheden voor interventies [‘Stability and Change in Psychosocial Health and Life Style in Adolescents and Possibilities for Intervention’] focuses on the nature and prevention of risk behaviour and health problems, including psychosocial problems. The study looked at which problems occur among 16-year-olds, and which of the problems are recent. Various health issues arise in this age group, including overweight, physical activity and nutrition, smoking, alcohol and cannabis use, depression and bullying. The research placed additional emphasis on specific risk groups and investigated the factors that can influence the problems.
On the basis of the data from the long-term TRAILS study, which has been monitoring the health of a large cohort of young people for 12 years, an analysis was carried out of risk behaviour and health problems occurring in the group, and five recommendations were made regarding the best way to provide the extra contact time. Read the full study here [hyperlink]
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