Preventive counseling at adolescent ambulatory visits

Cynthia M. Rand, Peggy Auinger, Jonathan D. Klein, Michael Weitzman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To evaluate factors that independently predict counseling for diet, exercise, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), pregnancy, smoking, and injuries at adolescent well visits, and compare these rates to the frequency of counseling at adolescent acute visits. Methods: The 1997-2000 National Ambulatory Medical Care and National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Surveys were combined for patients aged 11-21 years. Acute visits were identified by ICD-9 code for: sexual health, obesity, asthma, injury, and well care. Bivariate analyses were used to determine differences in relevant counseling provided at acute visits compared with well visits. Logistic regression was used to assess factors that predict counseling on each of the above topics at well adolescent visits. Results: Of 23,378 adolescent ambulatory visits, 1508 (6.5%) were for well care. Only 0.8% of visits were for obesity, 3.7% for sexual health, 2.6% for asthma, and 13% for injuries. Counseling was more frequent at acute than well visits for diet (72% vs. 28%), exercise (52% vs. 23%), human immunodeficiency virus/sexually transmitted diseases (HIV/STD; 14% vs. 6.2%), and family planning (FP) (24% vs. 10%), (all p values < .05). Pediatric clinicians were more likely than other specialists to provide counseling for diet (OR 2.3), HIV/STD (OR 2.7), FP (OR 2.9), tobacco use (OR 2.8), and injury prevention (OR 4.7). Blacks received less exercise counseling than Whites (OR 0.4), and counseling about sensitive issues (STDs, family planning) occurred more often in older adolescents (OR 1.3). Conclusions: Despite recommendations, more counseling occurs at acute rather than well visits, and still does not reach all those adolescents in need. There remains much room for improvement in physicians' adherence to national guidelines for adolescent care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-93
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2005


  • Adolescent
  • Counseling
  • Prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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