Task Force on Adolescent Health

During adolescence, new health behaviors emerge and many health habits that affect life outcomes are established. Unfortunately, data show that many North Carolina youths engage in behaviors that compromise their health. The NCIOM's Task Force on Adolescent Health studied this issue and developed a 10-year plan to improve the health and well-being of North Carolina’s adolescents. This report presents the findings of their work and recommendations to improve the health and well-being of youth in North Carolina over the next decade.

Full Report | Executive Summary | Issue Brief | Chapters
J. Steven Cline, DDS, MPH
Deputy State Health Director
NC Division of Public Health
Carol A. Ford, MD
Program Director, NC MARCH
Associate Professor, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Howard Lee
NC State Board of Education
Project Director  Berkeley Yorkery, MPP
Project Director
North Carolina Institute of Medicine
Adolescents and young adults have health needs that are in many ways different than the health needs of other age groups. As a result, their health and health care needs are often overlooked when examining the health problems of children and adults. Strategies to address the unmet health needs of older children must take into account the developmental complexities of adolescence, as well as other factors which impact on their health status. For example, many risky health behaviors and other health problems emerge during adolescence and young adulthood. During the teen and young adult years many risk factors for adult cardiovascular disease are established, rates of substance use and curable sexually transmitted infections peak, and motor vehicle accidents and death are at their highest.

Improving health and well-being during the second decade of life can favorably influence life-long trajectories of health and well being. The goal of the North Carolina Institute of Medicine Task Force on Adolescent Health was to increase awareness of the unmet needs of North Carolinians ages 10-20 and to develop a detailed strategy to address the high-priority health needs of these adolescents and young adults.

In setting the Healthy People 2010 goals, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified 21 Critical Health Objectives for adolescents and young adults crossing six areas: mortality, unintentional injury, violence, substance abuse and mental health, reproductive health, and the prevention of chronic diseases during adulthood. Using the work of the CDC as a starting point, this Task Force will looked at unintentional injury, prevention of chronic illness during adulthood, substance abuse, mental health, reproductive health and violence.

To accomplish this goal, the Task Force:
1) Examined the most serious health and safety issues facing adolescents and young adults in North Carolina.
2) Reviewed evidence-based and promising interventions to improve adolescent and young adult health.
3) Recommended strategies to address the high-priority needs of adolescents and young adults.

The work of the Task Force was part of the NC Multi-site Adolescent Research Consortium for Health (NC MARCH) More Between 10 and 20 Adolescent Health Initiative.

Collaboration and Support

The Adolescent Health Task Force was a collaborative effort of the North Carolina Institute of Medicine and the NC MARCH More Between 10 and 20 Adolescent Health Initiative. Generous support for this project was provided by The Duke Endowment.