Image of the letter Fhe tendency is to focus on the negative health indicators or behaviors involving adolescents, e.g., to focus on the fact that 34 percent of adolescents used tobacco during a month’s time, rather than the fact that 66 percent did not. We must begin to address adolescent health as a priority, but at the same time, we must avoid painting an unduly negative picture. In particular, we must avoid giving adolescents the impression that they are seen only as problems to be fixed rather than as resources to be developed. Furthermore, we cannot overlook the role and responsibility that adults have in this process as parents, caregivers, mentors, ministers, teachers, coaches and neighbors.
Adolescent behaviors serve not only as a current indicator of the health of our communities, but also as a predictor of the future health of our state. If we are to improve the relatively poor state of our state’s health, we must attend to and support our adolescents. This is an opportunity we cannot squander. We must identify the strengths and talents of youth in our communities. We must use those strengths to actively counteract the negative infl uences that are out there. Do you know any adolescents who are good at public speaking? Written expression? Creative problem solving? They will be of invaluable assistance when presenting issues and proposals to local policy makers or community coalitions. Both youth and adults begin to take a shared and productive responsibility when this happens.

Introduction Banner Image

Introduction | Youth Risk Behaviors | Positive Youth Development
Call To Action | Recommendations | Healthy People 2010 Objectives
Board Of Health | State of the State's Health | Oklahoma State Department of Health

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State of the State's Health Interim Report 2003