Health is important for the general happiness of human beings. Social problems affect the health of individuals. This paper aims to discuss the health of adolescents in the world with reference to the health report interview by ABC National in 2012. Adolescent health faces various social problems that affect its success. These problems include drug abuse, high mortality rates, teenage pregnancies, early marriages, and early sexual practice (Health report ‘Adolescent health’ 2012).
Drug abuse amongst adolescents has increased immensely in this century. The use of drugs, such as alcohol, cannabis, tobacco, heroin, and cocaine has various effects on the health condition of people. For instance, tobacco causes cancer of the lungs, throat, and mouth cancer. Other effects of drug use include respiratory diseases, damage of the kidney, infertility, heart disease, increased blood pressure, and depression among others.
These effects would lead to death with continued drug abuse. There was a high mortality rate reported among the adolescent with over 2.6 million deaths in 2012. The high mortality rate occurred because of the increased spread of HIV/AIDS, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. The war in the Middle East and Africa also contributed to the increased mortality rate among adolescents. The high mortality rate recorded in New Zealand resulted from suicides (Health report ‘Adolescent health’ 2012).
Teenage pregnancies also contribute to the deterioration of adolescent health. Teenage pregnancies happen due to early sexual practice and early marriages, especially in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa. Some of the risks of teenage pregnancy include increased blood pressure, prolonged labor that would cause the death of both the baby and the mother. Hypertension during pregnancy can occur and may cause the death of both the mother and the child. This causes an increase in maternal mortality.
Sociological imagination framework
The sociological imagination is the ability of an individual to imagine and understand the relationship between personal biography and historical social structures. The framework has four dimensions: historical, critical, structural, and cultural dimensions. The historical dimension focuses on the past context of adolescent health. It is important in understanding the current health situations of individuals in the adolescent age group.
Sociological imagination, therefore, does not emphasize on the present only but also encourages dwelling in the past society, compare the scenarios and eventually draw conclusions that will give solutions to the current issues affecting adolescent health (Germov, 2014, p. 15). It is important that medical practitioners evaluate the history of adolescent health. During the treatment, doctors should enquire if the adolescent’s symptoms are present in the family line. This is essential to ensure that the individual’s illness is either hereditary or is from the use of various substances. Diseases, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, are hereditary.
Cultural dimension in sociological imagination deals with values, cultural ideas, knowledge, rules, and customs shared by a certain group of people (Germov, 2014, p. 15). The culture of a people defines their health. In the traditional setup, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, strict repercussions were in place in case an individual failed to follow the cultural norms, values, and customs.
Excommunication and disownment were among the consequences for individuals who violated the rules of society. For instance, sex before marriage would violate cultural rules. This reduced the occurrence of teenage pregnancies and, hence, prevented the consequences that came with pregnancies, such as maternal and child death, high blood pressure, and prolonged labor of the mother during birth. In addition, elderly people were wise, hence, they gave informal education to the children and those who were in the puberty stage.
These methods might be useful in the present to ensure that teenage pregnancies decrease. Parents should also educate their children on the consequences of drug abuse to ensure they do not use them. These practices will be useful in improving adolescent health with its deteriorating day in day out.
The critical dimension of sociological imagination involves the ability and willingness to analyze the problems facing adolescent health. This dimension eliminates the policy of the assumption that human beings practice (Germov, 2014, p. 16). It is important that we find out the reasons for teenage behavior, such as drug abuse and sexual practice, before making assumptions about ignorance. We might find that peer pressure may be the cause of drug use and sexual practice.
In addition, depression can be a cause of drug abuse. Without evaluating and analyzing the situation, we cannot know how to treat or deal with adolescents. A medical practitioner should assess their patients carefully to find ways of treating and helping the patient recover. With good analysis, doctors encourage patients to seek counseling if they have depression and to ensure that they are capable of making their own decisions and not following the crowd.
The structural dimension deals with how society is built. The social structure defines the health of adolescents (Germov, 2014, p. 16). Modern society has an immoral, capitalist, and discriminatory structure. Individuals are responsible for themselves. They do not care what their neighbors, nieces, and nephews do. Children no longer listen to their elders like in the traditional society where an older person had the authority to punish any child who misbehaved.
This policy resulted in the upbringing of children who were morally upright, hence, had good health. Ignorance and capitalism contribute to the deterioration of adolescent health. Socialism is the best social structure as it promotes coherence amongst a community and shows a sense of responsibility in society. Socialist countries have minimal social problems affecting adolescent health. Social media influences adolescent health in these countries because it is global. However, many countries have embraced capitalism to promote the development and increase revenue.
The monitoring of social problems might help in improving adolescent health. Putting measures, such as jail sentences and huge fines for drug abuse, can help curb the use of drugs, hence, improving health. Advocating for abstinence from sex or practicing protected sex can reduce the problems that come with teenage pregnancies. Social institutions in the world should, therefore, brainstorm in collaboration with medical practitioners to ensure the improvement of adolescent health given the fact that the world is encountering an aging population. Adolescent health determines the life expectancy of a population.
Healthy adolescents are likely to live longer since their bodies do not have any complications. In addition, they produce healthy off-springs that are essential in the continuation of culture and legacies. Adolescents should, hence, ensure that they are responsible for their health and wellbeing by living healthy lifestyles.
Germov, J 2014, Second opinion. 5th edn, OUP Australia & New Zealand, Melbourne, pp.15, 16.
Health report ‘Adolescent health’ 2012, podcast radio program, ABC National Radio National, Melbourne. Web.