- Since 1988, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Division of Adolescent and School Health has been instrumental in our country's efforts to promote “environments where youth can gain fundamental health knowledge and skills, establish healthy behaviors, and connect to health services to prevent HIV, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and unintended pregnancy.” Through its commitment to “translating science into innovative programs and tools,” CDC helps the country implement effective programs and practice standards that shape the field more broadly .
- As a nation, we are at a crucial cross-road in our efforts to further reduce the incidence of teen pregnancy, once considered an intractable problem, but now recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a “winnable battle” . Over the past four decades, traditional strategies for teen pregnancy prevention have evolved from implementing relatively one-dimensional efforts, for example, those focused on changing the behavior of individuals through educational interventions or those increasing accessibility to adolescent-friendly reproductive health services.
- Children and adolescents consume up to half of their daily calories in schools, making these settings important locations for influencing the nutrition habits of innumerable youth. Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), such as soda, sports drinks, or fruit drinks with added sugar, are a major, non-nutritive calorie source and the largest contributor of added sugar in the diet . In an effort to reduce SSB intake among youth, federal, state, and local policies have restricted access to and marketing of SSBs in schools.
- The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), passed by U.S. Congress in 2010, represents an unheralded opportunity to meet the unmet health needs of young adults, a population that traditionally has represented a third of all the uninsured (ages 19–25 years), when compared with 16.3% among the general adult population (26–64 years) . A motivating force for young adults' health insurance enrollment is that they represent an important pool of healthier covered lives; thus, offsetting the health care costs associated with sicker older adults.
- Despite substantial declines in the incidence of adolescent births over the past two decades, the United States continues to have one of the highest adolescent pregnancy rates among all industrialized countries . The well-documented negative effects of teen childbearing include poor birth outcomes, lower educational attainment, and persistent poverty . Recent, albeit small, reversals in trends raise significant red flags as to what policy and programmatic strategies must be pursued to get back on track.