An integrative review of literature regarding health concerns of rural dwelling adolescents
Those living in rural areas face particular risks to health and well-being as they are more likely to be poor, have no health insurance, and have less access to health care. Many obstacles exist in achieving optimal rural health outcomes. Many of the health related issues experienced by adolescents are preventable and are often related to risky behavior such as substance use and abuse, smoking, and unprotected sex. The purpose of this review is to define the current primary health concerns of rural dwelling adolescents worldwide. Based on current research, the primary health related problems of rural adolescents were identified as risky sexual behaviors, mental health issues, violence and bullying, substance and alcohol use, and overweight and obesity. These problems are exacerbated by diminished access to care, peer influences, and parental influences. This integrative review also illustrates many dimensions of health disparities exist in rural areas. When addressing diversity in care models, it is important to consider the rural setting as well as race or ethnicity, sex, and socioeconomic status in designing curriculum and interventions. Globally, evidence based findings are needed to inform curriculum and respond to the health needs of rural adolescents. Programs and rural initiatives for adolescents can decrease the prevalence of established health problems and lower health care expenditures across life spans.