How & Where Healthy Teens Live, Learn, & Play: A 360° Approach

Date: November 14th, 2013

Gina Desiderio

When researching the effective characteristics of sexuality education programs, Dr. Douglas Kirby noted that while programs addressing individual knowledge, attitudes, and skills are important, they are not sufficient in reaching positive health outcomes: “Communities should not rely solely on these programs to address problems of HIV, other STIs, and pregnancy but should view them as an important component in a larger initiative that can reduce sexual risk-taking behavior to some degree.”

Evidence-based programs are but one piece of a larger approach to creating a national community where all adolescents and young adults, including teen parents, are supported and empowered to lead healthy sexual, reproductive, and family lives. To reach this vision—Healthy Teen Network’s vision that drives our mission—we must support a comprehensive, 360° approach to adolescent sexual and reproductive health.

How and where we live, learn, and play affect every one of us—our health and well-being, even our life span. These factors are referred to as social determinants of health. Examples include access to quality education and healthcare, life goals and hopes for the future, or healthy relationships with peers, family, and educators

The 360° approach is best represented by looking at the interrelated spheres of individual, relationships, community, and society, to understand how determinants in each sphere can influence individual behavior. The Social-Ecological Health Promotion frame illustrates the overlapping nature of the spheres.

Healthy Teen Network uses this frame as our theoretical approach to better understand the complex factors and spheres, and to increase our impact. The Youth 360° Fact Sheet, How & Where Healthy Teens Live, Learn, & Play is the first in our new series of resources focused on the Social-Ecological Health Promotion frame and social determinants of health.

How have you found that how and where we live, learn, and play plays a role in health outcomes?

How do you work to incorporate the social determinants of health into your work?

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About the Author

Gina Desiderio, Healthy Teen Network Director of Communications, has over 10 years of capacity-building and project management experience, supporting professionals to provide programs and services to empower youth to thrive.

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