Adolescent boys and dating

Gender-related disparities exist in cardiovascular risk factors.In contrast to adults, adolescent males have a higher prevalence of obesity than females (20% for male 12- to 19-year-olds, compared with 17% for females), and, whereas rates of obesity have not significantly changed for females, rates of obesity for males have increased from 1999–2000 to 2009–2010. Although males have seen marked improvements over the past 20 years, their mortality remains unacceptably high, with the United States having the sixth highest adolescent male mortality among high-income countries.

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However, there is increasing attention to 20- to 24-year-olds as “emerging adults” in American society whose developmental challenges, transitional roles, and threats to health and well-being are similar to those of adolescents.

Masculinity can be defined as a set of shared social beliefs about how men should present themselves.

Adolescent and young adult male health receives little attention, despite the potential for positive effects on adult quality and length of life and reduction of health disparities and social inequalities.

Pediatric providers, as the medical home for adolescents, are well positioned to address young men’s health needs. The first is to review the literature on young men’s health, focusing on morbidity and mortality in key areas of health and well-being.

(See Table 2 for a summary of recommended preventive visits.) Compared with females, young adult males are less likely to have a usual source of health care (63% vs 78%), are less likely to have visited a doctor in the past 12 months (59% vs 81%), and are less likely to have had an emergency department visit in the past 12 months (19% vs 27%).

Access is closely related to ability to pay for health care.

The discussion of the current state of adolescent male health is followed by a brief set of recommendations and references that position the reader to learn more about best practices for adolescent care.

For male sexuality and reproductive health, there are marked gender differences and less emphasis on training programs.

Morbidity from intentional/violence-related and unintentional injury (without mortality) is similarly more common in males.

Adolescents were 11 times more likely to be treated for intentional injury/violence in emergency departments than younger children, and males were more likely to be treated than females.

Behaviors leading to violence and injury, such as fighting and weapon carrying, are more common in males, with over 25% of high school males reporting weapon carrying in the past 30 days and 9% gun carrying, a four- to sixfold increase over females.

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