The young are the future of society, but they are also its present. Around half of the world’s inhabitants are under the age of 20; however most teens are still unaware of the most important aspects of their health issues. The early 90s have seen the affirmation of worldwide commitments to teen health which have been shaped within an international legal framework from the United Nations Charter and reflect WHO’s definition of health: a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being. In India, about one-third of the population is between the ages of 10 and 24. With this context, youth and adolescents constitute an important resource base for improving their own health and that of the society; contributing to global development and inter-generational solidarity.
According to WHO’s global data on “adolescents: health risks and solutions”: an estimated 1.3 million adolescents die each year from preventable or treatable causes such as road injuries, HIV, suicide, pneumonia, interpersonal violence, early pregnancy and child birth. Many adolescents take excessive risks that lead to insignificant illnesses, diseases and even death. Statistics for female teen health are dismal. Around 1 in 3 girls aged 15 to 19 have experienced violence from their communities and many girls in low- and middle-income countries marry before they turn 18. In addition, about 16 million girls aged between 15 to 19 years go through early pregnancy and child birth complications.
Illnesses can hinder a teenager’s ability to grow and develop to full potential. Therefore, promoting healthy practices for teen health, and taking steps to protect young people from unwanted risks are critical for wholesome adulthood, and for countries’ future health and social infrastructure.