Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

Adolescent health

Coming of age: adolescent health

Two adolescent girls take a selfie photgraph.

24 September 2018 -- The world now has more young people than ever before – of the 7.2 billion people worldwide, over 3 billion are younger than 25 years, making up 42% of the world population. Around 1.2 billion of these young people are adolescents aged between 10 and 19 years. Adolescence is a critical time of life. It is a time when people become independent individuals, forge new relationships, develop social skills and learn behaviours that will last the rest of their lives. It can also be one of the most challenging periods. "Coming of age" examines these issues facing adolescents.

New quality of care standards to save lives and improve the health of children and young adolescents

A young girl and her grandmother.
UNICEF/Versiani

24 April 2018 -- In 2016 an estimated 6.6 million children and young adolescents died, mostly from preventable causes. Evidence shows that gaps in the quality of care contribute to complications and deaths among children. To address these gaps WHO and partners have produced new quality of care standards to improve both the provision and experience of care and call for health facilities to create a child- and young adolescent-friendly environment.

International Day of the Girl Child 2017: EmPOWER Girls

Girls gather outside their temporary classroom in a camp for internally displaced people, North Darfur
UNICEF/Pirrozi

11 October 2017 – WHO joins individuals, communities and organizations worldwide in marking this year’s International Day of the Girl Child. This event commemorates the importance of gender equality and human rights for the well-being and health of girls and young women everywhere. It recognizes that empowering girls to achieve their full potential is also essential for their families and for their societies.

WHO and partners recommend actions to improve adolescent health

12 August 2017 -- This year's International Youth Day takes the theme of “Youth Building Peace”. Today’s generation of youth (defined by the UN as persons aged 18 through 29) is the largest the world has ever known and as such will have a major role in shaping the world of tomorrow. To this end, youth need to be actively engaged and invited to participate in the design and development of research and programmes that affect them. This was recognised by the UN Security Council in its 2015 resolution urging Member States to increase representation of youth in decision-making at all levels. Whilst the resolution focused primarily on global security, it is equally relevant for health.

WHO and partners recommend actions to improve adolescent health

Two mekong youth enjoy time together.
WHO

16 May 2017 -- More than 3000 adolescents die every day from largely preventable causes, according to a new report from WHO and partners. Global accelerated action for the health of adolescents (AA-HA!): Guidance to support country implementation – assists governments in what to do – as well as how to do it – as they respond to the health needs of adolescents in their countries. Case studies show that what is being recommended actually can be done. The full document with case studies, a summary document, a comic book, brochure and infographics are available below.

Our future: a Lancet commission on adolescent health and wellbeing

Young boy in India
WHO/SEARO/Anubhav Das

May 2016 -- The largest generation of adolescents in human history (1.2 billion) face unprecedented social, economic, and cultural change according to a new Lancet Report: Our Future: A Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing. The Report and related Commission bring together perspectives from public health, economics, political and social science, behavioural science and neuroscience to consider strategies to advance adolescent health and wellbeing, and call for adolescents themselves to be part of the change and accountability mechanisms.

Global Standards for quality health-care services for adolescents

Fazarkeley family

October 2015 -- New Global standards for quality health-care services for adolescents have been published by WHO and UNAIDS. Existing health services often fail the world’s adolescents (10-19-year-olds). Many adolescents who suffer from mental health disorders, substance use, poor nutrition, intentional injuries and chronic illness do not have access to critical prevention and care services.

Video messages on adolescent health from WHO's leadership

WHO leaders speak on topics including alcohol use, diet and physical exercise, HIV/AIDS, mental health, pregnancy, road injury prevention, vaccination, violence and injuries and sexual and reproductive health.

Health for the world's adolescents - report

"Health for the world’s adolescents" is a dynamic, multimedia, online report. It describes why adolescents need specific attention, distinct from children and adults. It presents a global overview of adolescents’ health and health-related behaviours, including the latest data and trends, and discusses the determinants that influence their health and behaviours.

It reflects the achievements in developing the evidence base for action and touches on new interventions, new research and new delivery mechanisms. It also features adolescents’ own perspectives on their health needs.

What is the global situation?

Front page of the Health for the world's adolescents report.

What must we do to improve and maintain the health of the world’s one billion adolescents? Health for the world’s adolescents is a WHO report fully addressing that question across the broad range of health needs of people ages 10–19 years.

What is WHO doing?

A group of adolescent girls with their mother.

WHO has developed Global Accelerated Action for the Health of Adolescents (AA-HA!): guidance to support country implementation to help countries support the health needs of adolescents.