A second chance in the second decade

Policies to support adolescents’ health


Key points

  • Most countries have committed to international conventions that recognize adolescents’ right to health. Many follow through with national policies and laws.
  • Issue-specific health policies need to consider adolescents explicitly.
  • Monitoring the implementation of policies is important to gauge what interventions are available.
  • Some policies, particularly those requiring parental consent, can discourage adolescents’ use of health services.
  • Policy on the health of adolescents should go beyond sexual and reproductive health to address other important causes of morbidity and mortality.

’Many laws have rules about nutritional content and the fabrication of food in general, forbidding products that are dangerous to our health. Laws about not selling alcohol to minors and not smoking in public also help to preserve our health.

male, 15-17, France

A law that criminalizes abortion, and if I have the need to end a pregnancy I could go to jail.

female, 15-17, Mexico

These laws should be enforced with greater strength. Although I have chosen to abstain from such, I have friends my age and younger that are able to purchase alcohol, cigarettes and drugs and such on a regular basis.

female, 15-17, Switzerland

I know government guidance is to eat 5 fresh fruit and vegetables per day and up to 2000 calories per day. I also understand that it is unhealthy and illegal to use cigarettes, drugs or alcohol.

male, 12-14, United Kingdom

Improvement of the environmental situation in the country and the world. The tightening of laws on tobacco smoking and alcohol. As well as high quality medical service at any time.

female, 15-17, Republic of Moldova