ONE OF THE IMPORTANT AREAS of child health which pediatrics has tended to overlook is the medical care of the adolescent. Here is a group of the population in the age group 15-19 numbering in the United States 12,847,000 as of July 1, 1959 exclusive of the Armed Forces, and in Canada 1,375,700 as of June 1, 1960. Except for a few outstanding school health services and adolescent clinics, their health needs have received relatively little study by any medical group.
This is not a new thought. I can recall hearing the care of the adolescent discussed at Academy meetings for many years, usually in the corridors. At some luncheon, probably the School Health Committee's, perhaps 15 years ago, a resolution was passed which declared the pediatrician's responsibility for child health extended to about age 20. Periodically pediatric authorities have called attention to the need to work with this age group. The latest mention of this is in the Presidential address of Dr. Samuel Levine of the American Pediatric Society, who called for "a special effort to understand the puzzling problems and potential of adolescents."
Several years ago at the request of the Executive Board, I tried to discover the attitude of pediatricians toward the care of the adolescent. It was not a scientific study, but correspondence with perhaps 50 wellknown practitioners and teachers. The replies were on the whole enthusiastic, and recommended Academy action to give more recognition to this age group in our program. They gave suggestions and descriptions of ways in which individual physicians were serving this age group.
- Copyright © 1961 by the American Academy of Pediatrics