Adolescent health and development

Health Watch, Normal

ADOLESCENTS are like ‘butterflies’.
They go through a transition period that is full of potentials; yet fragile!
They need nurturing with care and a safe yet supportive environment to grow and develop, similar to that of the colours of the butterfly’s wings.
The adolescents of today are very colourful and have boundless energies, ideas, enthusiasm, ambitions and not the least an unquantifiable potential in search for their destiny.
They are the lifeline towards participating in the custodian role of protecting the nation’s assets and resources which is basically out tomorrow.
 Healthy adolescents certainly have a better chance in life in becoming a good citizen of sound mind, responsible, productive and naturally continuing to be healthy individuals, throughout their lifetime.


What are the issues that we need to consider?
* Nutrition; 
* Mental health; 
* Sexual and reproductive health; 
* Substance abuse; 
* Education; and 
* Employment.


Good nutrition is essential for survival, physical growth, mental development, performance and productive health and the well-being.
Adequate nutrition is important to support optimal growth.


Mental health: Fundamental to a healthy life.
Mental health is a state of emotional and social well being in which the individual realises his or her own abilities.
Must be able to cope with the normal stress of life; can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.
Problems associated with mental health problems and disorders are:

* Poor physical health; 
* Suicide;  
* Disruptive behaviour; 
* School/educational dropout; 
* Excessive risk associated behaviour (drugs, drinking, immoral acts, etc); 
* Deliberate self-harm; 
* Risky sexual behaviour; 
* Physical inactivity; and
*Vocational failure.


Sexual and Reproductive Health:
Many adolescents are sexually active and their behaviours are professionally uncounselled and lack of  information about their bodies, having vague knowledge about sexual reproduction and ill informed over the consequences of such acts; adolescent pregnancy, abortion, sexually transmitted infections and sexual abuse.