Lancet: further action needed to realise full health potential of European children and adolescents

A health policy article based on the WHO progress report “Situation of child and adolescent health in Europe” has been published in the Lancet today. The article assesses the situation in the WHO European Region by summarizing national gains and highlighting areas for further action.

The key findings of the report include:

  • Childhood obesity and the mental health of adolescents are key areas of concern in the Region.
  • Access to sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents is unequal across the Region.
  • Promotion of breastfeeding, regulation of marketing of food for infants and toddlers, and improvement of school nutrition is needed across the Region.
  • Most countries do not systematically collect key data on children and adolescents and therefore cannot address areas of concern for health.

Overall, the article demonstrates that while some progress has been made, further action needs to be taken in every country to make children and adolescents visible and to release their full health potential.

Since all 53 countries of the Region have committed to improvements in child and adolescent health, this article also aims to promote comparison and national dialogue that could lead to progress in child and adolescent health. “Investing in children: the European child and adolescent health strategy 2015–2020” is a regional template for strengthening child and adolescent health that countries can build from.

Complete data, by country, are available in the full WHO progress report and on the European Health Information Gateway.