Young people are a sizable age group, comprising approximately 30% of the population in Latin America and the Caribbean. Adolescents are generally considered to be a “healthy” segment of the population, and their health needs are often overlooked. However, investing in health and education for young people and the alignment of economic policies enable productivity and economic growth. Furthermore, investment in young people’s health is essential to protect investments made in childhood (e.g. significant investments in vaccines and food programs) and secures the health of the future adult population. Most habits detrimental to health are acquired during adolescence and youth and manifest themselves as health problems in adulthood (e.g. lung cancer caused by the consumption of tobacco), adding an avoidable financial burden to the health systems.
PAHO’s technical cooperation is summarized in the Adolescent and Youth Regional Strategy and Plan of Action.
Another document of interest from the 2011 World Health Assembly is available here: Youth and Health Risks