While most kids in their 20’s are relatively healthy there are still some major health problems that can affect them. Studies suggest that decisions at this stage of their life, particularly decisions related to health, are a significant contributor to health across the rest of their life both positively and negatively. Most of the major health problems affecting people of this age group are preventable, or treatable – if recognized. Make the right decisions in your 20’s and you’re on the right track to reach middle age with no significant health problems, make the wrong decisions and you may be plagued with ill-health for much of your life. If you are in your 20’s or know someone that is then knowledge of the problems they may face is a key step in helping them through them. These were suggested to us by someone with an MBA in healthcare management:
1. Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Sexually transmitted diseases are one of the major health problems that kids in their 20’s face. While education about contraceptives has improved over time the significantly higher number of sexual partners the average 20-something has compared to other age groups increases the likelihood of them getting an STD. The higher chance of alcohol or drug abuse at this age also increases the risk. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has released a report stating that as much as 50% of all new STD infections in the U.S. are in people aged 15-24 while the World Health Organization reports that 40% of all new HIV infections occur in this age group as well.
2. Eating Disorders
An eating disorder is a type of mental illness that results in the sufferer having an unhealthy relationship with the food they eat. The most common are Bulimia Nervosa, Anorexia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder. Genetic factors can have some effect on the chance of suffering from an eating disorder but the majority of sufferers in their 20’s get an eating disorder predominantly because of social factors, modern culture demands people conform to a certain body image and this is constantly reinforced by advertising and marketing campaigns across television, print and the internet.
3. Mental Health Problems
The World Health Organization reports that in any one year as much as 20% of young people suffer from mental health issues. Of these depression and anxiety are the chief culprits. Similarly to eating disorders, mental health problems can be caused by both genetic and social factors. Family breakdown, bullying, abuse, and loss are just some of the issues many young people face that can leave them with depression, anxiety, or another mental health problem.
Fast food, lack of exercise and other lifestyle choices have led to a huge rise in the number of people in their 20’s who are obese. Obesity is defined as being overweight to the extent that you suffer physical problems as a result. Obesity early in life has been linked with a number of problems later in life. A recent study looking at obese Danish men in their 20’s found that those with obesity were much more likely to have developed other serious health problems, or even to have died, by the time they reached middle age (compared with non-obese men).
5. Drug & Alcohol Abuse
Experimentation with drug and alcohol is common for people in their 20’s and leads to many major health problems. While alcohol and substance abuse can cause long-term problems for organs such as your kidneys and your liver it is the short-term effects that do the real damage in your 20’s, drug and alcohol misuse is a leading cause of accident, injury and death among people in their 20’s. It has been reported that 60% of all admissions to the emergency room have a link to alcohol and drug misuse, as do 50% of all traffic accidents. This figure is likely higher for younger people.
All of these mentioned problems are serious health issues that affect people in their 20’s. Almost all of them are also preventable. If you or someone you know in their 20’s is living a lifestyle that is increasing their risk of major health problems you should educate them and help them take preventative methods. Many of these issues such as mental health problems, eating disorders and drug & alcohol abuse often go untreated and unknown for long periods of time, if you are worried about someone close to you then speak to a professional for advice.