1.2 million adolescents die needlessly each year: World Health Organization report

1.2 million adolescents deaths mostly preventable report says

The leading cause of death in the 10-19-year old adolescent group was road injuries.

A large proportion of these demises could have been prevented through access to good health services, education and social support, says the WHO report.

According to WHO Assistant Director-General Dr. Flavia Bustreo, teens are largely ignored by national health plans.

The WHO hopes the study will bring more attention to the growing health needs of adolescents around the world. "But a lot more needs to be done".

Road traffic injuries, lower respiratory infections, and suicide are the biggest causes of death among adolescents with road injury fatalities disproportionately affecting young males.

High death rates also stem from diarrheal diseases, which cause more than 63,000 teenage deaths on a global scale, followed by drowning - totaling another 57,000 demises among adolescents.

Road injuries are the main cause of death among teenagers. Of the 200,000 children in 42 countries studied by the WHO, Scotland came top for computer use by girls, Wales fourth and England seventh.

In the United States alone, a 2016 study by the Population Reference Bureau found traffic accidents continue to be the No.1 cause of death for teens, followed by suicide and homicide. "It should not be risky to walk down the road". Most victims are pedestrians and cyclists, rather than drivers, and this is especially true in lower income communities. Older boys were most apt to die from road mishaps. In the case of women and young girl's chest infections and self-harm are the biggest killers.

World Health Organization warned, however, that both regional and gender-based disparities exist.

Adolescents are one sixth of the world's population and account for 6% of the world's global burden of disease and injury.

Regionally, however, communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS and respiratory infections are more deadly to adolescents in low- and middle-income countries in Africa than road injuries. However, self-harm took the lead in Europe, collective violence (war) in the Eastern Mediterranean, violence and abuse in the Americas and lower respiratory infections in the WHO's African region. "That's the only region where HIV is still in the top five". Girls, especially, may be more likely to drop out of school. marry early or engage in transactional sex to survive.

The findings of the United Nations' health agency report were published on Tuesday. According to WHO, parents, families and communities have the greatest potential to positively influence adolescent behavior and health.

"There is very strong evidence that parenting makes a huge difference to adolescent health risk", Ross added.

Interventions such as seat-belt laws to comprehensive sexuality education can help countries to improve the health and well-being of their adolescents and dramatically cut unnecessary deaths, the report recommended.

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