Identifying challenges in promoting adolescent preventive health care in the primary care setting of urban Japan

Kazumi Sakashita, Robert W. Blum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite the assurance of free medical access through the universal health insurance system, over the past three decades Japanese youth have experienced an increase in developmental and behavioral problems, psychosomatic disorders, and psychiatric illnesses. To identify the challenges in promoting comprehensive preventive health services to adolescents in Japan, specifically in Tokyo. A cross-sectional online survey was conducted of physicians who are members of the Tokyo Pediatric Association. The questionnaire assessed primary care pediatricians' practice settings and their attitudes toward outpatient services to adolescent patients. Out of 617 member pediatricians, 69 valid responses were obtained. Majority were private pediatricians. 52% indicated that they had specialties in addition to general pediatrics; however, no one reported specializing in adolescent medicine. Approximately 70% answered the optimal patient encounter time would be under 10 min. More than 90% of respondents reported challenges providing health services to adolescent patients. Nearly half indicated that they did not routinely evaluate height, heart rate or blood pressure. Few providers asked about reproductive health, violence, or smoking/alcohol use. This survey is the first exploration of adolescent health care in an urban area of Japan. While the sample is small, the magnitude of challenges was great with limited training in adolescent medicine, severe time constraints and limited appreciation for the value of health screening at each encounter. Developing a standardized practical assessment tool for adolescent patients may help guide primary care pediatricians to better meet the needs of their adolescent patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health
StateAccepted/In press - 2020


  • adolescence health care
  • preventive care
  • primary care pediatrician
  • screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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