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Healthcare Transition for Adolescents

Adolescents and young adults who learn to use the healthcare system are setting the stage for better health now and throughout their lives. Developing a health routine that includes healthy habits and regular healthcare visits will increase the chance of improved health into adulthood. Unfortunately, young adults use the healthcare system less than younger or older people. Because use of the healthcare system is essential to positive health, it is important for caring adults to support adolescents as they transition to the adult healthcare system.

Adolescents tend to be healthier than many other age groups. Still, only four out of five (82%) 12- to 17-year-olds say they are in very good or excellent health.1 Young adults actually have worse health than both younger adolescents and older adults. As adolescents grow into young adulthood, they become less likely to exercise or get regular physicals and dental check-ups. They also are more likely to have a poor diet and engage in risky behaviors (e.g., smoking, drinking, and drug use) that can lead to injury, illness, or death.  

Moving from adolescence to young adulthood can raise a number of health issues. However, many young people stop healthcare visits after leaving their pediatrician because they do not form a relationship with a general practitioner.2 Some youth—particularly those with chronic conditions and disabilities—can have serious gaps in care when they transition to the adult healthcare system.3



Footnotes


1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. (2016). Fast Stats: Adolescent Health. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/adolescent-health.htm
2 Kordonouri, Olga. (2017). Transition of care for young adults with chronic diseases. The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, 1(4), 251–253. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2352-4642(17)30102-5
3 Bloom, S., Kuhlthau, K., Van Cleave, J., Knapp, A. A., Newacheck, P., & Perrin, J. M. (2012). Health care transition for youth with special health care needs. Journal of Adolescent Health, 51(3), 213–219.
Content created by Office of Adolescent Health
Content last reviewed on September 13, 2018