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17 May 2017

WHO - Road accidents biggest killer of teens worldwide

According to data released by the World Health Organization (WHO), road accident injuries are the biggest killer of teenagers worldwide.

Over 1.2 million adolescents (aged 10 to 19) died in 2015, of which one in 10 were from road accidents.

A majority of all road accident fatalities included males. However, the biggest killers of female adolescents were chest infections and self-harm.

In context

Leading causes of death of teenagers
Most adolescents' deaths worldwide are from preventable causes


Most adolescents' deaths worldwide are from preventable causes

Road traffic injury kill around 1,15,000 adolescents, followed by lower respiratory infections (73,000 deaths), self-harm (67,000), diarrhoeal diseases (64,000) and drowning (57,000).

These collectively constitute the top-five biggest killers of adolescents. Most of these are preventable.

Over 3,000 adolescents die every day around the world.

Low-and middle-income nations in Africa and South-East Asia account for two-third of these deaths.

Why the world needs to focus on improving adolescents' health

"Adolescents have been entirely absent from national health plans for decades," said Dr Flavia Bustreo, Assistant Director-General, WHO. Bustreo said "relatively small investments focused on adolescents would lead to healthy and empowered adults and subsequently healthier future generations."

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Suicide rates from self-harm among adolescents is increasing

As many as 67,000 adolescents were killed due to suicide and accidental death from self-harm.

Self-harm is more common among older adolescents and this is increasing in many regions.

"We are seeing suicide rates go up," said the WHO's Dr Anthony Costello.

"Adolescence is quite a stressful time of life. Young people need support, but adolescent health across the world has been largely neglected."


Indoor cooking using dirty fuels kills young girls

Lower respiratory infections are the leading cause of death for female adolescents, killing around 37,000 female adolescents in 2015.

A large number of girls contract pneumonia mostly due to indoor air pollution from cooking using dirty fuel such as firewood.

Among girls aged 15-19 years, pregnancy complications, including haemorrhage, sepsis, obstructed labour, and complications from unsafe abortions are the biggest causes of death.

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