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N Am J Med Sci. 2009 Aug;1(3):125-33.

Demographic shifts in health conditions of adolescents 10-19 years, Jamaica: Using cross-sectional data for 2002 and 2007.

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Department of Community Health and Psychiatry, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Mona, Kingston, Jamaica, W.I.



It is well established in health literature that most adolescents have good health, but this does not mitigate the reality that there are some who are living with chronic and other health conditions.


To examine the demographic shifts in health conditions and the typology of health conditions experienced by this age cohort.


The current study extracted a sample of 5,229 and 1,394 for adolescents 10-19 years from two surveys collected jointly by the Planning Institute of Jamaica and the Statistical Institute of Jamaica for 2002 and 2007 respectively. The survey was drawn using stratified random sampling. The sample was weighted to reflect the population of the nation. Descriptive statistics and chi-square were used in this study. The level of significance used in this research was 5% (i.e. 95% confidence interval).


In 2002, most of respondents had cold (28.3%) and in 2007, this shifted to unspecified health conditions (35.5%). The number of reported cases of arthritis in adolescents was 0.4%, in 2002, which fell by 100% in 2007 whereas increases were observed for unspecified conditions, 42%; hypertension, 175%; and diabetes mellitus, 700%.


There is an immediate need for health promotion and education campaigns geared towards the sensitization of adolescents about the rise in chronic illness, its challenges, lifestyle practices and willingness to seek care if particular symptoms are presently affecting them.


Health; adolescents; demographic shifts in health conditions; epidemiology; health conditions; health status; public health


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