Originally published by The Lancet on May 9, 2016

  • New global figures reveal most common causes of death and ill health for 10-24 year olds
  • “Young people are the world’s greatest untapped resource,” writes UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Decades of neglect and chronic underinvestment have had serious detrimental effects on the health and well-being of adolescents aged 10–24 years, according to a major new Lancet Commission on adolescent health and well-being launched in London on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. Two-thirds of young people are growing up in countries where preventable and treatable health problems like HIV/AIDS, early pregnancy, unsafe sex, depression, injury, and violence remain a daily threat to their health, well-being, and life chances.

Evidence shows that behaviors that start in adolescence can determine health and well-being for a lifetime. Adolescents today also face new challenges, including rising levels of obesity and mental health disorders, high unemployment, and the risk of radicalization.

Adolescent health and well-being is also a key driver of a wide range of the Sustainable Development Goals on health, nutrition, education, gender, equality, and food security, and the costs of inaction are enormous, warn the authors.

The Commission’s findings should be a wakeup call for major new investment in the largest generation of adolescents in the world’s history (1.8 billion) that will yield a triple dividend of benefits – today, into adulthood, and for the next generation of children.


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