• Determining the Health Problems of Alaska Military Youth Academy Participants

      Doughty, Mark W. (2014-12-08)
      Alaska Military Youth Academy is an accredited residential high school program that utilizes a quasi-military approach to teach life skills to at-risk youth. Physical fitness is a key component and is modeled after military basic training standards. Participants in the program are largely from disadvantaged backgrounds and frequently disconnected from the healthcare system. The purpose of this project was to identify and describe the most life-threatening and/or prevalent pre-existing health conditions of program participants. A retrospective review of applications and pre-participation physical exams submitted by participants (N = 771) from March, 2012 through February, 2014 was conducted in order to better understand the health risks these adolescents face during the program. The top five most prevalent pre-existing health conditions in this sample included obesity (n = 187), allergies (n = 170), asthma/reactive airway disease (n = 103), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder/attention deficit disorder (n = 88), and depression (n = 81). Other potentially life threatening health conditions included a history of cardiac arrhythmias (n = 5), congenital heart defects (n = 5), hypertension (n = 4) and epileptic seizures (n = 3). In an effort to mitigate the risk of injury these young athletes face in an intense physical fitness program, the PPE Pre-Participation Physical Evaluation (4th ed.) monograph (Bernhardt & Roberts, 2010) was utilized as guidelines to make recommendations for improvement of the preparticipation health history and physical exams used to screen AMYA applicants.