Healthy youth 'an investment in future'

03 October 2016 - 09:53 By SIPHO MABENA

Adolescence is more than just a phase of reaching sexual maturity - it's a critical developmental stage for tackling important health challenges. With the world's population of adolescents hitting 1.8 billion - the largest in human history - the Lancet Commission's report on adolescent health released last week emphasises that the health of the world's future adults demands more attention and action."Adolescents and young people are our best chance to achieve radical change for a prosperous, healthy and sustainable world. The adolescents of today will be the policymakers of 2030.''This commission's report follows two previous Lancet series reports, in 2007 and 2012.The first series called for stronger links between adolescent health and wider global health programmes. It highlighted serious data gaps and the failure to consider early preventive actions to reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases later in life.It lamented that young adults faced unprecedented challenges. The latest report concludes that "the most powerful actions for adolescent health and wellbeing engage and empower young people to be part of change and accountability mechanisms".Yogan Pillay, the Department of Health's head of HIV/Aids, said myths about adolescence stated that they were healthy and did not generally need medical services except to access contraception...

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