New WHO publication encourages investment in the health of adolescents in Europe

The WHO/Europe publication “Adolescent health in the European Region: can we do better?” encourages action to improve the physical, mental and social well-being of young people. These investments can have lifelong impacts.

The report builds upon the Global Accelerated Action for the Health of Adolescents (AA-HA!) guidance with a focus on the WHO European Region. The first section provides a compelling rationale for investing in adolescent health in the context of the guidance for implementing AA-HA! and the WHO European Child and Adolescent Health Strategy. The second section provides an analysis of the current state of adolescent health in the Region. The final section supports action in countries to improve adolescent health and well-being.

The report makes the following key points.

  • Investment in adolescent health is key to meeting the goals of the European Child and Adolescent Health Strategy and achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Although there have been significant decreases in adolescent mortality and morbidity in the Region over the past 3 decades, the majority of remaining mortality and morbidity is preventable or treatable.
  • Adolescent mortality and morbidity rates increase sharply with age, particularly due to increases in road injuries, self-harm, headache disorders, lower back pain and depressive disorders.
  • Key international strategies and action plans provide a framework for action on adolescent health, while international comparisons can support a case for action at the national level.