Why is Youth Health and Development So Important?

Globally it is recognised that this is the largest generation of 10 to 24 years old in human history growing up in the world today. Population mobility, global communications, economic development, and the sustainability of ecosystems are setting the future course for this generation.

Young people are also considered a specific demographic with regard to health, due to physical, sexual, psychological, and social developmental changes, all taking place at the same time.
The Lancet: Building the Foundations for sustainable development a case for global investment in the capabilities of adolescents

According to statistics New Zealand, approximately 25% of the total population of Aotearoa New Zealand is aged 10-19 years (1,250,000 young people in a team of 5 million). That’s a large percentage of our population where their health and wellbeing needs aren’t being met as well as they should be.

This is important because behaviors and skills established during adolescence can have ongoing impacts throughout adulthood. The international literature tells us that if we attend to the health and wellbeing of adolescents, it can bring a triple dividend:

  • Capabilities adolescents acquire during these years and take forward into adulthood leads into benefits across life course.
  • They are the next generation to parent – impacting on the health and capabilities they take into that important role.
  • Transform our futures, no more pressing task in global health than ensuring adolescents have the resources to do so.
    Our Future: Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing 2016