HEALTH FOR THE WORLD'S ADOLESCENTS

A second chance in the second decade

Introduction

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New attention to adolescent health

Adolescent health has come of age. Finally, there is a sense of urgency that action is needed now to make a real difference to the health of adolescents.

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There is much to build on. Over the past two decades, there has been a spate of reports and advocacy documents,1-5 6-10 declarations11 12 and milestone publications in academic journals13-16 devoted to the health and development of adolescents. There are global goals and targets directed to young people,17-20 and adolescents and youth are key to on-going21 22 and emerging public health agendas,23 24 to the plans for the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Beyond 201425 26 and, increasingly, to discussions about the post-2105 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).27 28 There has been attention to adolescents in global public health conferences,29 and young people have been the focus of several recent United Nations initiatives30-32 and resolutions.33 34 Progress has been made in generating interest and commitment for adolescent health at global,35 36 regional37 and, increasingly, national levels.38

A timeline of key The state of the world's children 2011

As this report highlights, however, the increased concern has frequently not been transformed into action.

Health is important to me because being in a state of complete health means being able to function at my full potential, and hence being able to perform at my best and contribute as much as I can to the activities I am involved in.

female, 15-17 Switzerland

Without it (health), we cannot reach the potential of our lives that we could reach if we are healthy. Both in a state of mind and physical. Every person should be equal in that respect.

male, 15-17, United Kingdom

Adolescents on what can be done to improve services: Improve and make it easier for young people to access services and information so that we may be more aware and up-to-date on what is good for our health.

female, 15-17, Paraguay

Health is the basis for everything; if you want to study or work, you need to be in good physical and mental health.

female, 15-17, South Africa

Health is extremely important because it has an enormous effect on our capacity to concentrate and work well. Being careless about it could be detrimental to our future.

female, 18-19, France