WHO launches report Health for the worlds adolescents

May 26, 2014

WHO recently launched "Health for the world's adolescents", a report promoting greater attention to adolescent health. It is a dynamic, multimedia, online report which describes why adolescents need specific attention, distinct from children and adults.

The report presents a global overview of adolescents' health and health-related behaviours, including the latest data and trends, and discusses the determinants that influence their health and behaviours. It features adolescents' own perspectives on their health needs.

The report brings together all WHO guidance concerning adolescents across the full spectrum of health issues. It offers a state-of-the-art overview of four core areas for health sector action:

  • providing health services
  • collecting and using the data needed to advocate, plan and monitor health sector interventions• developing and implementing health-promoting and health-protecting policies and
  • mobilizing and supporting other sectors.

The report concludes with key actions for strengthening national health sector responses to adolescent health.

An important note from this report is the fact that HIV is now the 2nd leading cause of death in adolescents. Road injury is the leading cause of death (particularly in boys) while suicide ranks third. When adolescent health is viewed from the point of view of morbidity using DALYs (Disability-Adjusted Life Years lost), HIV along with iron-deficiency anaemia are the third leading causes of illness and disability while mental health/depression comes in at the top (particularly in girls) followed by injury (particularly in boys). The report calls for much stronger attention to adolescents in health and social policies and for better cross-sectoral planning and implementation of available programmes and services.