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HLTA02H3 (135)
Chapter 16

HLTB03 - Chapter 16

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Health Studies
Michelle Silver

CHAPTER 16 The Pathology of Powerlessness: Adolescent Health in Canada Health and Poverty • Health status for youth depends on their placement in the socio-economic hierarchy o Living on the margins/below the poverty line/on the streets/and living in abusive contexts predispose youth to poor health resulting in greater health risks including: physical illness, mental health, high risk behaviour and injury • Adolescents of low income level show poorer health, increasing amounts of depression and stress (girls show a higher number than males) • Two physical manifestations of ill health: asthma and arthritis o Asthma: most common chronic illness in children and youth and increasing in the last 20 years in Canada  Strong correlation with environmental contaminants and exposure to airborne and ingested substances  Girls have higher rates of asthma compared to boys (maybe due to higher rates of smoking amongst girls than boys)  Lower income groups showed higher rates of asthma (high exposure to environmental contaminants) o Arthritis: more congenitally determined than asthma and most prevalent amongst elderly  However appears often amongst young people and for girls (associated with low income) Drugs, Alcohol, and Tobacco: Adult Gratification, Adolescent Danger • Tobacco is likely the most addictive of available addictive substances and most accessible to young people • Rates of tobacco use amongst adolescents have increased, especially for female youth • adolescents provide a new and lucrative market for tobacco advertisers o promising them popularity, thinness and independence for young women • elevated levels of physical, psychological, and emotional harm, either through previous childhood experience or through immediate life circumstances, are linked to the abuse of alcohol and drugs, and ultimately linked to high tendency for suicide, self-abuse/slashing, and poor levels of health • children and youth involved in the sex trade, victims of adult exploitation and abuse (rape victims) all show elevated rates of alcohol and drug abuse • many of the drugs that are produced for therapeutic reasons are harmful to children and youth o for example, in the US, drugs that send most teenagers to emergency rooms are Tylenol, aspirin, and ibuprofen o out of all emergency rooms for substance abuse for youth, 71% were for pharmaceutical overdoses; 15% for alcohol, caffeine and drugs combined; and only 14% for street drugs o in Canada, increasing use of Ritalin to control children and youth who were unable to fit into a regular classroom are for ADHD end up on the street used in combination with other pharmaceuticals o United States and Canada account for 90% and 5% of the market for Ritalin respectively, with other 5% shared with the rest of the world The Pathology of Body Images • Medical argument: insufficient and excess weight statuses are health risks, especially from research on eating disorders and youth, and obesity and longevity • Health Canada’s standard weight scale showing acceptable weight per height has become an acceptable standard for judging whether a person is at risk • The acceptable body image is socially constructed helping to serve industries like clothing and cosmetics • The image is an ideal that we strive to achieve and struggle is costly and never-ending o Not only is it exhausting and painful, it has the potential for young women and men to create a permanent physical damage • Achieving an ideal body weight is often fostered by adults in contexts like athletics, art and the business world of fashion (based on ethos that achievement and success are closely tied with each other) • Body weight is closely tied with gender and class o Insufficient body weight for male youth is most common amongst those in the lowest income category  Poor young males simply lack access to adequate diet by virtue of their poverty o For girls, those in the highest income categories experiencing highest levels of inadequate weight  Hospitalization rates for eating disorders in girls under age 15 increased by 34% from 1987-1999 • Obesity o In poorest income levels of adolescents, young women are more overweight than young men however, in high income levels, young men have higher obesity rates than young women Eating Disorders and Sexuality • Youth are now engaging in eating behaviours which are injurious due to str
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