Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 335–345

What Gets Measured Gets Done: Assessing Data Availability for Adolescent Populations

  • David K. Knopf
  • M. Jane Park
  • Claire D. Brindis
  • Tina Paul Mulye
  • Charles E. IrwinJr.
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10995-007-0179-2

Cite this article as:
Knopf, D.K., Jane Park, M., Brindis, C.D. et al. Matern Child Health J (2007) 11: 335. doi:10.1007/s10995-007-0179-2

Abstract

Objectives: To identify specific adolescent sub-populations; to evaluate the health data available regarding these populations related to 21 key national adolescent health objectives from Healthy People 2010; and to make recommendations for improving data capacity to further efforts to reduce health disparities among adolescents.

Methods: Adolescent populations were identified through a consensus process. Academic and government literature was extensively reviewed using internet search techniques to identify available national data for each of these populations on each key national health objective.

Results: 18 adolescent subpopulations were identified. These populations fit into four overlapping categories defined by demography, legal status, chronic health condition, or other special characteristics. Overall, national, population-based data regarding these sub-populations were located for 36% of the 21 health objectives. Within the sub-populations, most data was available for ethnic/racial groups, with 57–81% of each of the objectives having data. Data regarding rural/urban groups were found for about one-half of the 21 objectives, and data were located on all other groups for one-fourth or fewer of the objectives. Within the objectives, substance abuse objectives were the most widely measured, with data available for 56–78% of the various populations. For some objectives, such as drug-or alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths depression among the developmentally disabled, no national data were found.

Conclusions: There are still too little data available regarding the specific health status or health objectives for different adolescent populations. A national adolescent data-priority agenda is needed to develop strategies to improve health data regarding adolescent sub-populations. Federal and state health monitoring agencies could create national health profiles of different populations, include more population markers in health studies, and develop tools for population-specific health assessment, particularly for those within the government’s care, including incarcerated and foster care youth.

Keywords

AdolescentDataCritical objectivesHealth disparitiesMinoritiesNational health objectives

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • David K. Knopf
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. Jane Park
    • 1
  • Claire D. Brindis
    • 1
    • 3
  • Tina Paul Mulye
    • 1
  • Charles E. IrwinJr.
    • 1
  1. 1.National Adolescent Health Information Center, Division of Adolescent Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, School of MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.Pediatric Social Work Department, UCSF Children’s HospitalUniversity of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA
  3. 3.Institute of Health Policy Studies, School of MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA