September 10, 2016
Written by Ali H Mokdad
This post originally appeared on Al Jazeera.
Data can save lives. Without it, we wouldn’t know that smoking causes lung cancer and coronary disease, that helmets reduce death rates for motorcycle accidents, and that better education for women improves child survival – and much else. Given the importance of reliable data, collecting it must be a high priority.
One area where data collection is particularly inadequate is adolescent health. People aged 10 to 24 receive far less attention than other age groups. More broadly, as the new Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing highlights, global health and social policy largely tends to ignore adolescent health.
In many ways, our future depends on the health of our adolescents. In low and middle-income countries, there are more adolescents than ever before. And their health today will affect their future wellbeing, shaping their ability to earn a living, produce and raise healthy children, care for ageing parents, and lead their societies towards peace and prosperity.