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June 6, 1990

Adolescence South of Border Not One Big Fiesta; Health Problems Similar to Those in United States

JAMA. 1990;263(21):2864. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440210014004

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THE SOCIAL PROBLEMS faced by the United States and Latin America may seem to be a world apart. But these problems underlie adolescent behaviors that are remarkably similar, and thus unite those professionals concerned with the health of youth.

At a recent meeting of the International Regional Chapter of the Society of Adolescent Medicine in Atlanta, Ga, physicians from 14 countries gathered to discuss adolescent health care "with a Latin touch."

Why should Latin America, with its pressing political and economic problems, care about adolescents? One reason is their sheer numbers. According to Carlos Serrano, MD, director of the Pan American Health Organization, Washington, DC, 187.2 million teens live in Latin America in 1990.

Youth Movement  And youth as a proportion of the population is increasing. Gustavo Girard, MD, coordinator of the committee on adolescence of the Latin American Pediatric Association, from Buenos Aires, Argentina, says that while the world