HEALTH FOR THE WORLD'S ADOLESCENTS

A second chance in the second decade

Adolescence: a period needing special attention

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Key points

  • Adolescence is one of the most rapid phases of human development.
  • Biological maturity precedes psychosocial maturity. This has implications for policy and programme responses to the exploration and experimentation that takes place during adolescence.
  • The characteristics of both the individual and the environment influence the changes taking place during adolescence.
  • Younger adolescents may be particularly vulnerable when their capacities are still developing and they are beginning to move outside the confines of their families.
  • The changes in adolescence have health consequence not only in adolescence but also over the life-course.
  • The unique nature and importance of adolescence mandates explicit and specific attention in health policy and programmes.

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

Your health is not only your future but also the future of those around you. If I were to die at a young age, I would be unable to contribute to the economy or the population. An individual contracting a disease increases the risk of other individuals within that community contracting it. Therefore, it is important to keep healthy to ensure my safety and the safety of others.

female, 15-17, Saudi Arabia

If you feel well, you produce, you contribute, you are happy and you create a positive social environment.

female, 18-19, Mexico

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

It is important because I want to live a long life, and I don't want to be restricted by any illness that would be the result of being unhealthy. I want to be a role model to children that I may have because I know how important it is to have someone that you can look up to and to motivate you to be healthy and to exercise.

female, 15-17, United Kingdom

The proper functioning of one person is crucial for the society because our problems affect our behaviour, which will sooner or later affect the whole society.

trans, 12-14, Argentina

Health is life. Being in good health allows you to really throw yourself into life.

female, 15-17, France

Health is relative, based on the way you observe it. You can have a healthy body but an aching soul. I think it sums up to a balance of forces that make your body and mind work together to be able to experience freedom and with that, to create goals.

male, 15-17, Mexico

Adolescents on the meaning of health: To have the ability to do things well, without any sort of discomfort or pain. To ensure a comfortable future, without any complications like diabetes or any sort of cardiac disease, etc., caused by what was done in the past.

Gender not specified, 18–19, Mexico