Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Million Indian teenagers study: George Institute embarks upon research to understand the psychology of youngsters

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: India has one of the highest death rates among teenagers and scientists have always wondered why this is so. Now a team of city scientists will take up a first-of-its-kind research study to understand the secrets of young minds, the complex psychology of teenagers in India and the suicidal tendencies in them. The research will help in unraveling the scientific mystery of a very high incident of death rate including suicides among adolescents in the country.

The death rates for teenagers in India are amongst the highest in the world, and little research has been done to find out why this is and how to provide appropriate healthcare for adolescents. Teenagers make up a significant proportion of India’s population. As teenagers age their health status is vitally important, since its impact is enormous on the economic growth and health systems. The information currently available on the health landscape of young adolescent Indians is quite meagre.

The city-based George Institute for Global Health in collaboration with the Centre for Chronic Disease Control, New Delhi, will cover a million Indian teenagers over a period of time for a proper understanding of the cause of death. “The study will strive to provide health policy makers with precise and reliable information about the
distribution of chronic diseases and injuries among the adolescent population. It will also help to reliably identify major risk and protective factors relating to mental disorders, injuries, cardiac illnesses like increased blood pressure, diabetes and obesity,” said Dr Pallab Maulik, head of research and development, George Institute
for Global Health, India.

According to him, among India’s adolescents, comprising almost one-quarter of the country’s population, mental illness and injuries are two major health problems. India has one of the highest suicide rates in the world amongst teenagers. A study revealed that the suicide rate among 10-19 year olds was 148 and 58 per lakh people for females and males respectively.

Death among teenagers due to road traffic injuries is also high in the country. In addition, many of the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases and diabetes start in this age group. “There are many unanswered questions for the adolescents which need to be worked upon,” Dr Pallab added.

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