The children

The Children in Belize

Early Childhood

Primary School Years




© UNICEF Belize/2011/F. Cuellar
Using the new WASH facility

Adolescents living in the Belize are generally physically and mentally healthy; however, a growing number of them are reported being unable to deal with the emotional and behavioral aspects of this stage in their lives. Several suicidal cases have been reported within the last years. Furthermore, in Belize, exposure to crime and violence has increased significantly for youth especially in urban areas. This has affected their physical, mental and social well-being as well. Youth also deal with issues regarding gender-based conflict, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), tension, hostilities, depression, anger, as well as negative school experiences.

Drug and alcohol use is an escalating problem as both substances are relatively easily available. Research shows that alcohol is the most commonly used drug; however, increasing levels of marijuana, cocaine and tranquilizer use have also been reported. Often this results not only in addiction, but also crime or trafficking to support the habit. Across the life cycle, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases are emerging and resulting from risk factors such as diet, exercise, and living environments. Obesity is emerging as a problem among adolescents especially in the urban areas. This is largely due to high-fat diets associated with modern convenience foods such as fried foods as well as inactive lifestyle with limited exercise.



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