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Annu Rev Public Health. 2014;35:343-61. doi: 10.1146/annurev-publhealth-032013-182455. Epub 2014 Jan 2.

Improving adolescent health policy: incorporating a framework for assessing state-level policies.

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Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies and National Adolescent and Young Adult Health Information and Innovation Center, University of California, San Francisco, California 94143-0936; email:


Many US policies that affect health are made at the state, not the federal, level. Identifying state-level policies and data to analyze how different policies affect outcomes may help policy makers ascertain the usefulness of their public policies and funding decisions in improving the health of adolescent populations. A framework for describing and assessing the role of federal and state policies on adolescent health and well-being is proposed; an example of how the framework might be applied to the issue of teen childbearing is included. Such a framework can also help inform analyses of whether and how state and federal policies contribute to the variation across states in meeting adolescent health needs. A database on state policies, contextual variables, and health outcomes data can further enable researchers and policy makers to examine how these factors are associated with behaviors they aim to impact.

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