One of the specific goals of the health-related Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 3) is to ensure, by 2030, universal access to sexual and reproductive health services, including family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes. To this end, one of the indicators proposed for the Global Strategy For Women’s, children’s and Adolescents, Health is the adolescent birth rate.
Increased access to contraceptive information and services may lead to a decrease in the number of young people who become pregnant and give birth too early. It may also be useful to adopt and enforce laws prohibiting marriage before the age of 18.
Health is the adolescent birth rate
Young women who become pregnant should be able to receive quality prenatal care. When permitted by law, pregnant women who decide to terminate their pregnancy must have access to a safe abortion.
Alcohol and drugs. Harmful alcohol consumption among adolescents is a growing concern in many countries, as it reduces self-control and increases risky behaviour, such as unprotected sex or dangerous behaviour on the road. It is one of the underlying causes of injuries (including those caused by traffic accidents), violence (especially by the partner) and premature deaths.
In addition, it can cause health problems at a later stage of life and influence life expectancy. Setting a minimum age for buying and consuming alcohol and regulating how alcoholic beverages are promoted to the youth market are some of the strategies that can help reduce harmful alcohol consumption. Drug use among young people aged 15-19 is also a major source of global concern. Drug control can focus on reducing demand, supply or both, and successful programmes often include Structural, community and individual interventions.
Nutrition and micronutrient deficiency
In 2006, iron deficiency anemia was the second leading cause of years lost by adolescents due to death or disability. Iron and folic acid supplements are a solution that also helps improve health before teens become parents. It is recommended that adolescents be regularly treated with vermifuge in areas with frequent intestinal helminths, such as ankylostomas, to prevent micronutrient deficiencies (such as iron).
Developing good healthy eating and exercise habits in adolescence is essential to enjoy good health in adulthood. Also, reducing the marketing of foods high in saturated fat, trans fatty acids, free sugars or salt, and providing access to healthy foods and opportunities to exercise are important measures for all, but in particular for children and adolescents.
Malnutrition and obesity, Many children in developing countries suffer from malnutrition when they reach adolescence, making them more likely to catch disease and die at an early age. On the opposite side, the number of overweight or obese adolescents is increasing in low-and high-income countries.
Globally, in 2016, more than one in six adolescents aged 10 to 19 were overweight. Prevalence varied among WHO regions, ranging from less than 10 per cent in the South-East Asia region to more than 30 per cent in the Americas region.
Physical activity brings extremely important health benefits in adolescents, including improving cardiorespiratory and muscular capacity, bone health, maintaining a healthy body weight and psychosocial benefits. Who recommends that adolescents engage in at least 60 minutes of moderate or intense physical activity daily, for example through games or sports, commuting activities (such as cycling or walking) or physical education.
- Globally, it is estimated that only 1 in 5 adolescents comply with these guidelines. The prevalence of inactivity is high in all who regions, and is higher among adolescent girls compared to male adolescents.
- To increase activity levels, countries, societies and communities must create safe and enabling environments and opportunities for all adolescents to engage in physical activity.
Tobacco consumption. The vast majority of people who use tobacco today began to do so when they were teenagers. Banning the sale of tobacco products to minors, raising the price of those products by imposing higher taxes on them, banning tobacco advertising and ensuring smoke-free environments is of the utmost importance. Globally, at least one in ten adolescents (aged 13-15) consume tobacco, and in some regions this figure is much higher. In some high-income countries, cigarette consumption among younger adolescents appears to be declining.
Rights of adolescents
The rights of the child (under the age of 18) to survive, grow and develop are reflected in various international legal instruments. In 2013, the Committee on the rights of the child, which is responsible for monitoring the implementation of the Convention on the rights of the child, issued guidelines on the right of children and adolescents to the highest attainable standard of Health. A general comment on the realization of children & apos; s rights during adolescence was also published in 2016. The publications highlighted the obligations of states to recognize the specific health and development needs of adolescents and young persons, as well as their rights.
The convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women also establishes the rights of women and girls to health and adequate health care.
Who response. In May 2017, WHO published a major report on the global Accelerated Action for the Health of Adolescents (AA-HA!): Guidance to support country Implementation), based on inputs received after a broad process of consultation with Member States, United Nations agencies, adolescents and youth, civil society and other partners.
Its objective is to assist governments in deciding what they plan to do, and how, to respond to the health needs of adolescents in their countries. This reference document is intended for policy makers and national programme managers to assist them in planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating adolescent health programmes. Teams from 68 countries have been trained in the implementation of the global Accelerated Action for the Health of Adolescents (AA-HA!(Guidance to support country Implementation) for national priority setting, programming, monitoring and evaluation, and 18 countries are using this approach to update national strategies and policies.
In general, who performs a range of functions to improve the health of young people, including:
- establishes evidence-based guidelines to support health services and other sectors;
- makes recommendations to governments on Adolescent Health and the provision of high-quality and age-appropriate Adolescent Health Services;
- documents progress in Adolescent Health and development; and
- it promotes awareness of youth health issues among the general public and different stakeholders.