The World Health Organization recently reported more than 1.2 million adolescents around the world die every year. That’s at least 3,000 people ages 10 to 19 a day. Even more heartbreaking? Most of these deaths are from preventable or treatable causes.
“Adolescents have been entirely absent from national health plans for decades,” Dr. Flavia Bustreo, Assistant Director-General of WHO, said in the news release. “Relatively small investments focused on adolescents now will not only result in healthy and empowered adults who thrive and contribute positively to their communities, but it will also result in healthier future generations, yielding enormous returns.”
When looking through data from 2015, experts found stark differences when they looked at those ages 10-14 vs. 15-19, and females vs. males.
Here are the top causes:
– Road injuries are the leading cause of death overall, killing more than 115,000 adolescents. Older boys, ages 15-19, make up almost 77 percent of the deaths. Most victims are pedestrians and cyclists, rather than drivers, and this is especially true in lower income communities. But more work needs to done to specifically determine what the underlying factors are, for instance whether it’s from drunk driving, exhausted drivers or unsafe street infrastructures.
“These factors for adolescents are around their whole environment. It should not be dangerous to walk down the road,” Dr. Sonia Saxena, a primary care expert at Imperial College London who was not involved with the report, told