Increased pediatric participation in the health and medical care of adolescents has been encouraged over the last several years, both through the redefinition of the age range of pediatric practice by the American Academy of Pediatrics, and by the 1978 Task Force Report on Pediatric Education. Whereas the Task Force Report enunciated a framework for pediatric leadership in adolescent medicine, little is known about the extent to which adolescents are actually included in pediatric practice. Based upon the findings of the 1980-1981 Upper Midwest Regional Physician Survey, the use of age "cutoff" policies for adolescents is explored. The various types of such policies are examined, in addition to reasons for their use and non-use, the characteristics of pediatricians who include and exclude adolescents from their practice, exceptions made to adolescent age limits, differential enforcement by patient and physician gender, and anticipated changes in cutoff policies in light of projected demographic changes for infants, children and youth, and physician supply.

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