2 million adolescents died in 2015, over 3000 every day, mostly from symptoms of depression in adolescent boys or treatable causes. Road traffic injuries were the leading cause of death in 2015.
Other major causes of adolescent deaths include lower respiratory infections, suicide, diarrhoeal diseases, and drowning. Globally, there are 44 births per 1000 to girls aged 15 to 19 per year. Half of all mental health disorders in adulthood start by age 14, but most cases are undetected and untreated. 2 billion people, or 1 in 6 of the world’s population, are adolescents aged 10 to 19.
Most are healthy, but there is still substantial premature death, illness, and injury among adolescents. Illnesses can hinder their ability to grow and develop to their full potential. Promoting healthy behaviours during adolescence, and taking steps to better protect young people from health risks are critical for the prevention of health problems in adulthood, and for countries’ future health and ability to develop and thrive. 19-year-old girls globally is complications from pregnancy and childbirth.
19 years, and the vast majority of these births are in low- and middle-income countries. This indicates a marked decrease since 1990. 2030, the world should ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes. To support this, a proposed indicator for the Global strategy for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health is the adolescent birth rate. Better access to contraceptive information and services can reduce the number of girls becoming pregnant and giving birth at too young an age. Laws that specify a minimum age of marriage at 18 and which are enforced can help. Girls who do become pregnant need access to quality antenatal care.
Where permitted by law, adolescents who opt to terminate their pregnancies should have access to safe abortion. 2006 estimates suggest that HIV deaths among adolescents are rising. 2030 there should be an end to the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases, hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases. Given the high prevalence of HIV in many countries, to achieve this, adolescents will need to be central to control efforts. Young people need to know how to protect themselves and must have the means to do so. This includes being able to obtain condoms to prevent sexual transmission of the virus and clean needles and syringes for those who inject drugs.