In health care sectors, teenage health issues are considered as a significant area of concern, as this age group, people belonging from 13-19 years of age, is the future of a nation, a broader society or a local community. Thus, the health issues of teenage are one of the major areas of research and development. Nowadays, several contemporary health issues are affecting the overall growth and development of teenagers. Thus, several legislations and regulations are developed for protecting teenage health. There are several health issues, significantly affecting the teenage growth and development including depression, anxiety, obesity, alcoholism. It has been revealed that the death rate in Australia was 37 out of 1, 00,000 teenagers, estimated in 2007 (Coller & Kuo, 2015). Investigating the factors contributing in the teenage health issues and developing strategies for reducing the teenage health issues through health promotion is thus an important concern of health and social care sectors. In this essay, focus is the demonstration of teenager’s health issues and discussion about a relevant health issue in a narrowed way.
Currently, in Australia, there are 4, 280, 322 people belonging from the age group off 12 to 25 years, that is 18.6 % of the entire population. In this population, 51.3 % is male and 48.7 % is female (Coller & Kuo, 2015). It has also been reported that the around 1 % teenage population is reduced within the last 5 years, which is a major concern, as this population is the future of the nation (Ogden et al., 2012). Teenage health issues are the significant concern in Australia. It has been revealed that teenagers are susceptible to be influenced by social factors, for example television and other social media, as well as peer pressures. These factors are significantly contributing to their health issues. For example, heart disease, COPD, asthma related to tobacco smoking is very common in Australian teenagers. On the other hand, obesity is one of the most prevalent health issues of teenagers in Australia. It is related to several chronic diseases. Walls et al. (2012) argued that social media and television has significant contribution in influencing teenager’s unhealthy food choice, which leads to increased risk of obesity and other heath issues.
Australian health statistics showed that one quarter of Australian teenagers are overweight or obese. On the other hand, alcoholism is one of the social issues, which results in health concern of teenage people. It has been seen that currently, one in 16 young people is experiencing depression, one in 6 people is experiencing anxiety (Coller & Kuo, 2015). It has also been revealed that girls are more affected by the mental health issues compared to boys at this age group. Therefore, mental health disorder is one significant concern of the young people in Australia. The issues in coping strategies with stress are promoting their unhealthy behavior, including smoking and alcohol consumption. The alcohol abuse is associated with a number of health risks including unsafe or unwanted sex, road accidents, unintended pregnancy, domestic violence and behavioral issues (Dunstan et al., 2012).
Around 86.2 % Australian aged 14 years has consumed alcohol at least once and their parent’s thinks alcohol is safer than other drugs, which is influencing their perception about alcohol consumption (Walls et al., 2012). All of these health issues highlighted above have significant impact upon the overall growth and development of the teenagers. In addition, these health issues also have a significant effect upon their future life and career. The social determinants of health have significant impact upon the health status of the teenagers, such as education and social media. Education and health promotions have shown significant positive impact upon the reduction of alcohol consumption and obesity related health issues. In the next section, the health issues and statistics related to teenage obesity and its impact upon their future as well as on the society would be discussed.
The health survey in the schools revealed that one quarter of Australian teenagers are overweight or obese. Several personal, social and environmental factors are contributing to their obese or overweight conditions. Obesity is such a health issue that is associated with several fatal diseases including coronary heart diseases, diabetes, hypertension as well as mental disorders including depression, anxiety and other health concerns. However, teenage obesity is not a leading health issue in Australia; rather this health issue is predominating in the US, UK and other nations. According to the Australia ABC news service, about 30 % adolescents in West Australia are identified to be obese (Ho et al., 2012). Thus, it has been highlighted as a public threat. All the middle and high school aged students in the Australian states were surveyed, except the schools in west Australia. The survey results revealed that merely 20% students are consuming the recommended daily diet including fruits and vegetables. In addition, the survey also revealed that only 14 % teenage students are undergoing minimum level of physical activity in a regular basis. In contrast, the results also revealed that 46 – 51 % teenagers are consuming junk food or fast foods around twice or four times per week (Lubans et al. 2012). The findings suggested that like the American teenagers, the Australian teenagers are also becoming overweight or obese due to their overconsumption of fast foods, insufficient physical activities and using television, computer and video games for longer period.
While taking the social determinants of health into consideration in the teenage obesity, research has shown that the socioeconomic background has a significant contribution in teenage obesity (Lustig, Schmidt & Brindis, 2012). It has been revealed that teenagers, who have experienced financial challenges at their childhood, are more prone to be diagnosed with obesity or overweight in their teenage. It has been revealed that the fast food industry spend approximately $4.2 billion on the advertisements targeting 294, 000 teenagers per month (World Health Organization 2012). Some research suggested that the enhanced availability of fast food is influencing their risk of obesity in teenagers. Research has also shown that childhood inactivity has also a strong link with the teenage obesity of Australian teens. A survey of college teens has revealed that stress can influence or modify the eating behavior, which is significantly contributing in weight gain and obesity. Since the beginning of 21st century, Australian childhood and teenage obesity issue has followed the trend with United States (Ekelund et al., 2012). Research suggested that lower socioeconomic and poor nutritional education is significant social determinants of health that are contributing in increased obesity related issues in Australia.
Obesity is now classified as an ‘epidemic; health issue with enhanced frequency in Australia, where, the teenage obesity has significant contribution in the sole situation of obesity epidemic. The increased rate of obesity has been characterized as a result of poor eating habit, which is associated with enhanced availability of fast food, decreased activities and sedentary lifestyle. In the era of social networking and computer based works, teenagers are adopting the sedentary lifestyle, which is reducing the need for physical activity, promoting unnatural weight gain. On the other hand, teenagers from low socioeconomic background, who lack the nutritional education about healthy diet, are consuming more junk foods and less vegetables, which are also contributing in enhanced BMI and obesity development. Statistics has shown the overweight children are more likely to suffer from obesity, depression, bullying, anxiety, musculoskeletal pain, enuresis, headaches (Haby et al., 2012). Additionally, untreated symptoms led severe consequences in late teenage including heart disease and diabetes. It has been revealed that overweight teenagers are 1.3 times and obese teenagers are 3 times more prone to complain musculoskeletal pain in knees (Khambalia et al., 2012). Statistics has also revealed the fact that children who has diagnosed as obese in childhood, are tend to stay obese through their adolescent and teenage and suffers from the consequences of obesity including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other complications. In Australia, the prevalence of obesity differs according to the ethnicity. It has been revealed that Australia born teens are less likely to be obese, compared to the teens born in North Africa, Southern, Middle-East and Easter Europe as well as Oceania. The co-morbidity of obesity with cardiovascular disease is 21.3 % and with type 2 diabetes is 23.8% (Ekelund et al., 2012). The Australian Diabetes, obesity and Lifestyle study has revealed that in 2005, Australia government has spent approximately $21 billion for obesity and overweight issues (Colagiuri et al., 2010).
Several policies and programs have been launched by the national and federal government. However, school and college based health promotion might help the teenagers to understand the negative health complications related to obesity. Lifestyle modification including sufficient physical activity, reduction of fast food consumption and stress reduction can help to reduce the risk of being obese in Australian teenagers.
In conclusion, it can be said that Australian youth is experiencing a range of health issues, which are significantly influenced by the social determinant of health and other environmental factors and the issue is related to many severe health concerns. Additionally, the essay revealed that obesity has a significant contribution in lowering the health status of the teenagers in Australia. The essay also revealed that in most cases, poor education is the reason behind over consumption of fast food, which can be reduced by effective health promotion and educational sessions of the communities. Australian government should undertake effective steps to combat with these issues.
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