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Teens lack preventive health care

This is Science Today. The majority of American adolescents are not receiving an appropriate level of preventive health care. Dr. Charles Irwin, Jr., director of Adolescent Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, says the American Medical Association recommends all adolescents get annual preventive check-ups. But according to Irwin's data, which was based on a large national survey, this is not the case.

Irwin:              When you look at adolescents between the ages of 12-17, only two-thirds of them report that they get into a clinician's office during the past year. But then, of those young people that get into the physician's office, only a third actually get a preventive care visit from their clinician.

Narrator:        Irwin says low-income and uninsured adolescents fared worse than those who were insured and of higher-income.

Irwin:              But I think the bottom line is, when only a third are getting the services, whether you have resources or not resources, kids aren't getting this, it's just that low-income and uninsured kids are getting less.

Narrator:        For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.