Health Determinants Among Sexually Active High-Risk Adolescents


Determinants of health include the range of environmental, social, personal, and economic factors that affect people’s health status. The U.S. government attempts to improve society’s health by establishing objectives concerning the correlation between well-being status and health services, individual behavior, policies, biology, and social factors (Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, n.d.). The interrelationships between these factors determine both population and individual health. This essay describes how education and healthcare affect high-risk sexually active adolescents.


Education is a critical social determinant of health because poor learning is linked with setbacks such as language problems and low literacy levels. Early motherhood can significantly affect a person’s education since most teen mothers are likely to stop schooling, which, in turn, causes issues with future academic opportunities and prospects (Rashid & Mwale, 2016). Health consequences for these teenagers include not being ready for pregnancy and childbirth, resulting in malnutrition and medical complications since most adolescents come from low-income families. Children born out of early pregnancies are likely to have psychosocial development problems due to premature and low birth weight. Consequently, these kids are at a higher risk of intellectual and language delays. However, combining access to birth control methods and proper educational intervention can reduce unplanned pregnancies among adolescents.

Health literacy is vital for adolescents since it influences their ability to make decisions and, subsequently, take action to care for their wellbeing. Literateness can help youngsters avoid unplanned pregnancies, protect themselves, and better manage medical problems and unexpected conditions that occur in their bodies. According to Park et al. (2017), adolescents with low health literacy are at higher risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections and getting pregnant. Generally, learning is related to self-rated health, and, therefore, teenagers with the highest literacy level are likely to make better choices regarding their sexuality (Yakubu & Salisu, 2018). Additionally, teens’ health-risk behaviors seem to reduce when the government increases its expenditure on the public education system (Park et al., 2017). As a result, those with a good education will have advanced knowledge of diseases and self-health. Similarly, there is a need to identify language and literacy problems among high-risk adolescents to establish effective educational intervention strategies.

Healthcare Services

Health can also be affected by limited access and poor-quality service. Insufficient access to healthcare significantly influences the well-being status of teenagers. For instance, the lack of health insurance makes it hard for them to seek antenatal and delivery services, which might, in turn, lead to premature births and complications for the mother. Consequently, these hurdles result in unmet medical needs for both the child and the teen mother, poor infant development, and increased maternal death risk.

Teenage mothers might have gone through partner-related, family, and sexual violence. The outcomes of the aforementioned problems might be family disruption and socioeconomic disadvantage, among others. Long-term risks for the parent include rapid repeat pregnancies and depression; and, for the baby, early intergenerational parenting. Specialized practitioners with sufficient training are required to identify at-risk youngsters and help them prevent unintended pregnancies, clinically and emotionally care for the pregnant ones, and promote the wellbeing and health of teenage mothers and their babies (Amjad et al., 2018). The existing specialty services in sexual and reproductive health do not meet the necessary quality to care for teens’ problems (American Hospital Association, 2011). Furthermore, there are no effective counseling services to reduce risks and, subsequently, nurture health promotion (Potrebny et al., 2019). Since many teenagers and their children are vulnerable to various adversities, they should receive appropriate healthcare intervention, including non-judgmental psychosocial and medical support.


In summary, adolescent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections have become a primary public health concern globally. Generally, lack of access to education, poverty, and insufficient healthcare services predispose many girls to early pregnancies and related complications. Teenagers should be equipped with the necessary knowledge to help them make informed decisions concerning sexual relationships. Moreover, educational interventions should be complemented with extensive programs geared towards promoting health and poverty alleviation.


American Hospital Association (2011). Caring for vulnerable populations. Web.

Amjad, S., MacDonald, I., Chambers, T., Osornio‐Vargas, A., Chandra, S., Voaklander, D., & Ospina, M. B. (2019). Social determinants of health and adverse maternal and birth outcomes in adolescent pregnancies: A systematic review and meta‐analysis. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, 33(1), 88-99. Web.

Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (n.d.). Determinants of health. Web.

Park, A., Eckert, L., Zaso, J., Scott-Sheldon, L., Vanable, A., Carey, B., Ewart, K., & Carey, P. (2017). Associations between health literacy and health behaviors among urban high school students. The Journal of School Health, 87(12), 885–893. Web.

Potrebny, T., Wiium, N., Haugstvedt, A., Sollesnes, R., Torsheim, T., Wold, B., & Thuen, F. (2019). Health complaints among adolescents in Norway: A twenty-year perspective on trends. PloS One, 14(1), 1–10. Web.

Rashid, S., & Mwale, M. (2016). The effects of sex education on the risky sexual behaviour of school going adolescents: A case study of Mbenjere, Ntaja, and Nsanama community day secondary schools. Psychology and Developing Societies, 28(1), 126–138. Web.

Yakubu, I., & Salisu, J. (2018). Determinants of adolescent pregnancy in sub-Saharan Africa: A systematic review. Reproductive Health, 15(1), 1–11. Web.

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