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ORIGINAL ARTICLES  EPIDEMIOLOGY AND CLINICAL MEDICINE 

The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2011 June;51(2):268-74

Copyright © 2011 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Health risk screening in adolescents: a pilot study

Borrione P. 1, Marchiaro G. 2, Vincenti M. 2, Sciacca A. 2, Spaccamiglio A. 2, Di Gianfrancesco A. 3, Casasco M. 4, Pigozzi F. 1

1 Department of Health Sciences, Internal Medicine Unit, “Foro Italico” University of Rome, Rome, Italy; 2 Regional Anti-doping Center, Orbassano, Turin, Italy; 3 Therapeutic Use Exemption Committee, Rome, Italy; 4 Italian Federation of Sport Medicine, CONI, Rome, Italy


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AIM: Even if youths are generally perceived to be healthy, adolescent years are associated with significant morbidity. Screening and counselling programmes seem to be cost-effective but adolescents prefer to rely on health care services for the treatment of diagnosed diseases or injuries rather than for preventive actions. Age oriented studies are needed for better understanding the health needs of adolescents in order to provide an adequate offer of preventive opportunities.
METHODS:Eight hundred youths ranging from 13 to 18 years of age were recruited. Health status and risks were clustered into the following five categories: clinical assessment, substance use/abuse, nutritional habits, alcohol and tobacco consumption, physical status. Surprisingly, 33% of the youths were suggested to perform further clinical assessment and even more interestingly a significant number of them received a diagnosis of a symptomatic disorder for which he or she did not previously consider a medical visit to be necessary.
RESULTS: As expected, alcohol consumption, tobacco smoking, drug use/abuse and sedentary habit represent the risky lifestyles commonly followed by adolescents.
CONCLUSION: The present study confirms the importance of screening programs addressed to health issues and behavioural attitudes of adolescents even in light of the fact that they may underestimate even indicative symptoms.

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