Recent advances in adolescent health: implications for policies and programmes The health of adolescents is central to public health. Directing resources to health during the adolescent years is essential for building on investments made during the first decade of life, for ameliorating problems that may arise during these early years of childhood, for transitions to adulthood and for health in the future, for this generation and the next.
Significant progress has been made in understanding health and development during the second decade. This includes improved estimates of the health status of adolescents: mortality, disability adjusted life years lost and the initiation of health-related behaviours; clarity about the determinants that underlie adolescent health and disease; insights into the links between the developmental processes taking place during adolescence and health problems and health-related behaviours and conditions; and a much stronger evidence base for a range of interventions that can have a positive impact on adolescents’ health.
The presentation will outline some of the major implications of this increased knowledge for policies and programmes, drawing particularly from the recent WHO publication “Health for the World’s Adolescents: a second chance in the second decade”. It will provide an overview of how recent advances confirm, correct and challenge existing policies and programmes, and outline some of the opportunities and challenges for ensuring that what is known influences what is done to improve and maintain the health of adolescents.