More than 1.2 million adolescents die every year from various causes. This translates in 3,000 deaths which occur every day. A new World Health Organization (WHO) report shows that most of these deaths are preventable. Better health care and a broader access to education can change these death rates.
In 2015, the leading cause of death for adolescents was road injury, with more than 115,000 reported cases. The other two top causes were self-harm and respiratory infections. According to WHO officials, all of these can be prevented.
Better education and heath care help with adolescent death prevention
If you analyze the main causes of death according to age, sex, or the region where they occur, they might differ. More than 60 percent of these adolescents’ deaths occur in Africa and Southeast Asia. Therefore, education, social care, and improved health services can prevent most of these cases.
Researchers discovered that adolescents are absent from national health plans most of the times. This is why their death rate is so high. When national health plans direct their focus towards teens, the rate will significantly decrease.
“Relatively small investments focused on adolescents now will not only result in healthy and empowered adults who thrive and contribute positively to their communities, but it will also result in healthier future generations, yielding enormous returns,” mentioned Dr. Flavia Bustreo, WHO’s assistant director-general.
Different factors influence death risk in adolescents
The report shows that boys aged between 15 and 19 are most exposed to road accidents. Even if most of them don’t drive, they are often involved in road accidents as cyclists and pedestrians. On the other hand, many girls aged between 10 and 14 are victims of respiratory infections. For girls aged between 15 and 19, the leading cause of death is pregnancy complications.
Other factors that increase the risk of death in teenagers include lack of exercise, risky sexual behavior, and poor diet. All of these have a great impact on health throughout a person’s life. Taking better care of adolescents provides the good health and well-being of the next generation of adults.
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