Comprehensive guidelines needed for young adult preventive care

March 6, 2012

With no specific clinical preventive care guidelines targeting young adults, health care providers are missing key opportunities to improve the health of this population through preventive screening and intervention.

Yet a new study from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) shows that when the ages of 18-26 years are carved out of existing professional guidelines across specialty groups, there are a broad number of evidence-based recommendations that can inform the care of .

The transition from adolescence to can be a challenge often associated with greater engagement in health damaging behaviors, with the highest rates of , substance abuse and sexually transmitted infections.

Because these health problems largely are preventable, primary care visits can present a key opportunity to improve the health of young adults, with evidence supporting the efficacy of . But this group also is the least likely to be insured, seek or have a primary care physician, according to researchers.

"This is really a key time to intervene," said lead study author Elizabeth Ozer, PhD, an associate professor of pediatrics in the UCSF Division of Adolescent Medicine. "Yet even when young adults use primary care, they infrequently receive preventive health care".

The study, "Young Adult Preventive Health Care Guidelines: There But Can't be Found," is available in the March 2012 issue of . The research team conducted a careful analysis of existing guidelines for adolescents and adults and identified preventive care guidelines relevant to young adults.

According to the authors, the expansion of health insurance to young adults up to age 26 years through the 2010 Act (ACA) creates an urgent need for specific guidelines for young adult preventive care. While the ACA provides an "unprecedented opportunity," to improve the health of young adults, it also will create an influx of this population seeking services, thus increasing the demands on the health care system, and the need to provide preventive services, the team states.

Recent data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) found that in the first quarter of 2011, approximately 2.5 million more young adults had health insurance compared to the previous year.

"The good news is that there is no need to reinvent the wheel when developing comprehensive preventive services for young adults. Existing evidence based guidelines can inform this process," said Ozer. "This review is an important first step in moving forward to create guidelines for young adult health care that outline a core set of preventive services that will better enable clinicians and young adults to talk full advantage of the primary care opportunity."

Explore further: Young adults allowed to stay on parents' health insurance have improved access to care

Related Stories

Young adults allowed to stay on parents' health insurance have improved access to care

February 13, 2012
Researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine have found that laws permitting children to stay on their parents' health insurance through age 26 result in improved access to health care compared to states without those ...

Recommended for you

Artificial light from digital devices lessens sleep quality

July 28, 2017
There's no doubt we love our digital devices at all hours, including after the sun goes down. Who hasn't snuggled up with a smart phone, tablet or watched their flat screen TV from the comfort of bed? A new study by researchers ...

Study finds walnuts may promote health by changing gut bacteria

July 28, 2017
Research led by Lauri Byerley, PhD, RD, Research Associate Professor of Physiology at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, has found that walnuts in the diet change the makeup of bacteria in the gut, which suggests ...

Could insufficient sleep be adding centimeters to your waistline?

July 27, 2017
Adults in the UK who have poor sleep patterns are more likely to be overweight and obese and have poorer metabolic health, according to a new study.

Sugar not so sweet for mental health

July 27, 2017
Sugar may be bad not only for your teeth and your waistline, but also your mental health, claimed a study Thursday that was met with scepticism by other experts.

Vitamin E-deficient embryos are cognitively impaired even after diet improves

July 27, 2017
Zebrafish deficient in vitamin E produce offspring beset by behavioral impairment and metabolic problems, new research at Oregon State University shows.

The role of dosage in assessing risk of hormone therapy for menopause

July 27, 2017
When it comes to assessing the risk of estrogen therapy for menopause, how the therapy is delivered—taking a pill versus wearing a patch on one's skin—doesn't affect risk or benefit, researchers at UCLA and elsewhere ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.