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Mar 2012

Focus on Preventive Health Care for Young Adults

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Health, Department of Pediatrics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2012;166(3):289-290. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2011.898

It should be concerning to pediatric and adult health care providers that young adults in the United States have high rates of preventable morbidity and mortality and yet health care delivery for this population is at its most disorganized. Unfortunately, a lack of focus on the health needs of young adults prevents health care providers, young adults, and the public from even knowing there is a problem. Health care providers are unlikely to see significant numbers of young adults in their practices unless they work in college or military settings. Young adults seek care from a variety of specialties, including internal and family medicine, obstetricians and gynecologists, emergency medicine specialists, and pediatricians, but they are unlikely to constitute a priority population for any of these specialties.1-4 High rates of uninsurance and little public awareness of health risks during young adulthood diminish the public demand for preventive health care.5,6 And so at a time when preventive health care would seem to be most opportune, young adults make significantly fewer visits for preventive care than adolescents or older adults; when they do seek care, one nationally representative study suggests that fewer than a third receive any preventive health care and almost none receive comprehensive preventive care.1,4

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