On July 3, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published an article in Preventing Chronic Disease about Teen Health in the past decade. It was not surprising that adolescents self-reported a significant decline in their perception of personal health. The study was adjusted for possible confounding from gender, race/ethnicity, age, physical inactivity, and cigarette smoking. None of these confounders seemed to explain the decline. The conclusion drawn was that the recession and perhaps coincidentally the resultant move of many teens to lower socioeconomic status was the reason for this finding. Perhaps!
Or perhaps not – the article gives no basis for comparison with other eras of economic decline. Specifically, did teens have this same perception during other recession periods? More important, how have the societal changes which occurred from 2004 – 2010 impacted their perceptions? In that period we moved from a Federal Administration and Congress which supported the family and was interested in promoting values based on natural law and tradition to one which works to support only those things which are politically expedient.
Could it be that the decline is due to the erosion of family values? How does the killing of our most vulnerable children – those still in the womb, the devaluation of marriage, and the increasing intrusion of government into the responsibility of parents to rear their children impact teens’ perceptions? What is the impact of the countenancing of gender confusion among our youth, or the promotion of the concept that all ills are “someone else’s fault”? Aren’t these more likely explanations?