In World Youth Week, the World Health Organization (WHO) wanted to remember that more than 2.6 million adolescents and young people between 10 and 24 years old die every year in the world, most of them from preventable causes , such as HIV, malnutrition, violence or diseases related to the abuse of drugs such as alcohol or tobacco.
WHO Deputy Director General Anarfi Asamoa-Baah warns that "WHO estimates indicate that 2.6 million young people die every year, tens of millions suffer from health problems and hundreds of millions acquire unhealthy habits that could lead them to suffer diseases and die prematurely ", most of them are inhabitants of poor countries.
Promoting healthy habits among adolescents and better protecting young people from health risks is "key" for the future of countries and social infrastructure, in addition to preventing health problems in the adult population, according to the WHO.
To this end, the Millennium Development Goals seek, for example, to achieve universal access to reproductive health, since 16 million adolescents between 15 and 19 years old give birth each year in the world, representing 11 percent of all births .
Another objective is to stop the spread of HIV / AIDS in this population, reducing cases by 25 percent. Currently, young people between 15 and 24 years account for 40 percent of new HIV infections of adults around the world, according to 2009 data. Each day, 2,400 young people are infected with HIV. Worldwide there are more than 5 million young people living with HIV / AIDS.
Malnutrition is another problem that affects young people. Many children who grow up in poor countries reach adolescence with problems of malnutrition, which makes them vulnerable to diseases. On the other hand, obesity and soprepeso grows, another form of malnutrition with serious consequences for health.
Mental health problems are another challenge to improve, since about 20 percent of adolescents will suffer this type of problem, with depression or anxiety being the most common. The experiences of violence and poverty increase this risk. Without forgetting suicide, one of the main causes of death among the youngest population.
The consumption of snuff and alcohol, so established in these age groups is another of the evils of youth. According to the WHO, at present, about 150 million young people smoke and about 14 percent of adolescents and 18 percent of boys between 13 and 15 years old, inhabitants of low and middle income countries, already consume alcohol. The education and state policies of prevention are the keys to stop the increase of their consumption.