Human Diseases and Conditions by Miranda Herbert Ferrara

By Miranda Herbert Ferrara

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During childhood, the child becomes more adept at gross motor skills (such as those used in sports) and fine motor skills (such as those used in drawing or writing). Psychologically, childhood is the time during which a person begins to develop self-reliance. The child also recognizes similarities and differences between self and others and begins to develop a self-concept. New mental abilities enable the child to learn what is taught at school and in other social settings. What is taught and what is seen as important to the child’s development and education are culturally and environmentally determined.

As children generally like to experiment with new surroundings and new opportunities, they inevitably come to realize that their actions and choices have consequences. Adolescence is a time of rapid change in all three domains. Physically, the adolescent is changing from a child to an adult. The onset of puberty, accompanied by a growth spurt (coming a little earlier for girls than for boys), is the time at which the physical body first becomes capable of sexual reproduction. In addition to changes in reproductive organs and reproductive functions, the secondary sexual characteristics, the traits that distinguish the two sexes, begin to appear.

Due to better living conditions, better medical treatments, and more nutritious eating habits in modern times than in previous ages, the elderly populations of many countries are increasing. At the same time, the birth rates for many of these countries are decreasing. For the first time in human history, in the United States and elsewhere as of the early 2000s, the population of people over age 65 is greater than the population of children under the age of five. It was anticipated that as middle-aged persons begin to retire there will not be enough younger workers to take their places.

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