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J Adolesc Health. 2015 Feb;56(2):127-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2014.11.012.

Investing in the health and well-being of young adults.

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Institute of Medicine, Washington, DC.
Division of Adolescent Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington/Seattle Children's Hospital, Seattle, Washington.
Department of Psychiatry, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts.
Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital/University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California. Electronic address:


Contrary to popular perception, young adults-ages approximately 18-26 years-are surprisingly unhealthy. They are less healthy than adolescents, and they also show a worse health profile than those in their late 20s and 30s. The Affordable Care Act provisions to extend coverage for young adults are well known, and some states had already been pursuing similar efforts before the Affordable Care Act was enacted. These initiatives have resulted in important gains in young adults' heath care coverage. However, too little attention has been paid to the care that young adults receive once they are in the system. Given young adults' health problems, this is a critical omission. The Institute of Medicine and National Research Council recently released a report titled Investing in the Health and Well-Being of Young Adults. The report concludes that young adulthood is a critical developmental period and recommends that young adults ages 18-26 years be treated as a distinct subpopulation in policy, planning, programming, and research. The report also recommends action in three priority areas to improve health care for young adults: improving the transition from pediatric to adult medical and behavioral health care, enhancing preventive care for young adults, and developing evidence-based practices.


Affordable Care Act; Transitions; Young adults

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