New morbidity of the young

Article English OPEN
Stanković Biljana (2002)
  • Publisher: Institute of Social Science, Belgrade
  • Journal: Stanovništvo (issn: 0038-982X)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.2298/STNV0201053S
  • Subject: adolescents | risky behavior | prevention | Demography. Population. Vital events | HB848-3697

In the present phase of epidemiological transition, the most frequent causes of youth morbidity are disorders in reproductive health, mental disorders and injuries which are not life threatening. This, so-called new youth morbidity, is most often caused by their risky behavior, which in the field of sexuality often leads to unplanned pregnancies and abortions, as well as sexually transmitted infections. Misuse of tobacco, alcohol and narcotics, which is most commonly started in adolescence, has an unfavorable short-term and long-term influence on the psycho-physical health of the young. All research, in the world and in our country, indicate gradual yet constant growth of sexual activity of the youth and the age decrease of its starting point, especially when girls are in question. Due to insufficient maturity and inadequate knowledge and consciousness on the necessity of protecting reproductive health, sexual behavior of young people can often be characterized as insufficiently responsible and not supplemented with the usage of adequate protective measures. The result is frequently abortion, which terminates 90% of unplanned and unwanted pregnancies in this age. This creates health and psychosocial risks, as well as giving birth in adolescence which is contrary to the modern health concepts that giving birth should not be performed too early, while the young are still developing. A significant increase in the frequency of sexually transmitted diseases is also present, to which the youth are especially susceptible due to the specific development period in which they are in. A serious medical and sociopathological problem of contemporary society represents the greater and greater misuse of psychoactive substances among the young people, with a tendency of decreasing the average age they are consumed for the first time, as well as the use of drugs and alcohol. With the increase of the anti-smoking campaign and restrictive measures in highly developed countries smoking among young people is decreasing, while it is increasing in Eastern Europe and developing countries. As the health disorders of young people mentioned above, are conditioned, above all, by their risky behavior and insufficient relation towards health, the degree to which they are widespread can be influenced by prevention. Educational and health institutes represent the carriers of preventive activity, which understands health education and aid to young people in overcoming life's skills, along with the necessity to direct support to the family as well, which maintains a significant place in the life of young people and has a important influence on their behavior to risk exposure. A significant influence is also legal and provision regulations, the role of mass media, as well as the activities of political, nongovernmental, religious and other organizations which determine the environment in which young people live.
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