Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Health Behavioral Factors in Modern Adolescents

Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Health Behavioral Factors in Modern Adolescents

Article excerpt


The health condition of modern Russian adolescents is shown by a steady tendency to increased morbidity according to medical aid appeals, increase in incidence of chronic pathology, and decrease in number of healthy children in all age groups. These characteristics are confirmed both by official statistical data and by the results of the research reviewed.

According to official statistical reports over the last five years in particular, the incidence of disease in children aged 0-14 increased by 19.2%, and in adolescents aged 15-17 by 20.2% [Baranov, Sukharyova, 2006].

Such health deterioration in adolescents is likely to lead to a significant decrease in capacity for those engaged in intellectual and manual labour, reproduction and the defense potential of our country; it will also aggravate the demographic crisis.

Specialists at the Scientific Research Institute of Children's and Adolescents' Health Care and Protection of the RAMS Scientific Centre of Children's Health have found that over the last ten years students' health has significantly deteriorated. An increase in the incidence of pathology (total incidence of functional abnormalities and chronic illnesses) was observed.

According to research results performed by specialists from the RAMS Scientific Centre of Children's Health, negative changes were seen most distinctly when monitoring the health condition of adolescents aged 15-17 [Baranov, Sukharyova, 2006]. It was found that from 1989 to 2005, the incidence of functional abnormalities among boys increased by 89.0% and among girls by 51.6%. Incidence of chronic illnesses among boys increased by 33.6%; among girls it also increased, but to a lesser extent [Baranov, Sukharyova, 2006].

It is notable that in recent years there has been a tendency for a slowdown in growth of the incidence of functional abnormalities (7.4% and 1.4%) and chronic illnesses (8.3%, and 0.7%) for the rate of growth among boys and girls, respectively. If this tendency continues to persist, it may be estimated as beneficial.

An analysis of adolescents' health condition indices, which monitored them from the 9th through 11th grades, found that schoolchildren adapted to academic loads with significant strain on the functional systems of the body. In turn, this caused the development of functional abnormalities, their severity, and the development of chronic illnesses.

As Baranov and Sukharyova note (2006), high school studies caused an increase in the incidence of functional abnormalities in girls more than in boys, while in boys the incidence of chronic disease increased more quickly. This is because of the fact that for boys, intensive studies of high school students decline in the same time interval as an ongoing pubertal growth stage, while in girls' the stage of puberty is almost over by that time [Baranov, Sukharyova, 2006].

From 1995 to 2005, the structure of chronic illnesses changed, and gastrointestinal pathologies in adolescents took first place by doubling in number from 10.8 to 20.3%. Diseases of the nervous system also showed an increase among adolescents. The number of chronic diseases of the nervous system increased by a factor of 4.5 (from 3.8 to 17.3%). Diseases of the musculoskeletal system still rank third, while ear, nose and throat (ENT) pathologies decreased by half, and rank fourth among chronic illnesses affecting adolescents.

A comparative analysis of the structure of functional abnormalities in modern adolescents and their peers of the 1990s shows that there has been considerable change over the intervening period.

For example, functional abnormalities of the circulatory system shifted in ranking from second to first place, and they now account for 25.0% of current cases. It should be noted especially that the incidence of these abnormalities became almost three times higher during the period from 1995 to 2005. Circulatory system abnormalities were observed in almost half of all adolescents (47. …

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