10 percent of total funding for children should be moved to preventive interventions within 5 years

April 24, 2012

A Comment linked to The Lancet Series on Adolescent Health calls for major investments in adolescent health, including moving 10% of total funding for children and adolescents towards preventive interventions in communities and schools within 5 years. It also calls for at least 30% of countries produce their own reports on adolescent health and development compared with the less than 5% that currently do so. The Comment is by Professor Michael Resnick, Division of Adolescent Health and Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA, and lead authors from each of the four Series papers already mentioned in this press release.

The authors say: "Adolescence is central to global health goals for physical, mental, sexual, and reproductive health, reductions in injuries, incidence of HIV, and chronic substance misuse. At least 70% of premature adult deaths reflect behaviours started or reinforced during adolescence. The burgeoning challenge of non-communicable diseases linked to obesity, , early elevations in blood pressure, tobacco and substance use, and mental disorders pose worldwide threats to health, since two-thirds of [all global] deaths are linked to non-communicable diseases."

They conclude: "About half of the world's population is now younger than 25 years, with substantial proportions in low-income and middle-income countries. How nations harness the contribution of their adolescents and young adults will determine their futures, in terms of economic success and quality of life. Put simply, failure to invest in the second decade of life, despite the availability of proven and promising prevention and health promotion strategies, will jeopardise earlier investments in , substantially erode the quality and length of human life, and escalate human suffering, inequity, and social instability."

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