Over the past two decades, the world has made tremendous progress improving child and adolescent health and well-being. But challenges persist. Communicable diseases continue to endanger children and adolescents across the globe – and new health problems are on the rise, especially in areas affected by poverty.
Mental health conditions, developmental delays and disabilities, injuries and non-communicable diseases – including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, preventable cancers and chronic respiratory diseases – pose threats to children and adolescents worldwide. Unhealthy diets and environmental hazards such as air pollution also prevent millions of children and adolescents from surviving and thriving.
The time between pregnancy and age three is critical for growth and development. But millions of children are still growing up without adequate health-care services, nutrition, safe environments, and responsive caregiving.
And for the 1.2 billion adolescents between the ages of 10 and 19, the extent to which society invests in their health and well-being will determine the future not just for them, but for everyone.