A recent study conducted by the WHO examined the top causes of death and illness among adolescents worldwide.
The "Health for the world's adolescents" report, the first extensive WHO effort to measure the health of young people between the ages of 10-19, discovered that road traffic injuries are the top killer of adolescents around the world. They were also the second most likely reason for young people to be injured. Boys saw three times the rate of deaths from traffic accidents than girls.
HIV/AIDS was the second deadliest for adolescents in the survey. HIV infections are rising among young people, mainly in Africa, despite a drop of HIV-related deaths in every other age group.
Suicide ranked third in terms of death for young people worldwide. Depression was also the second likeliest factor to cause illness or injury.
The report also made recommendations for improving adolescent health worldwide, including improving traffic laws and encouraging sexual health education.
"The world has not paid enough attention to the health of adolescents," Flavia Bustreo, the assistant director-general for family, women and children's health for WHO, said. "We hope this report will focus high-level attention on the health needs of 10 to 19-year olds and serve as a springboard for accelerated action on adolescent health."
The report examined health policies in 109 countries, 84 percent of which provide some level of attention to adolescent health. Three quarters of those policies focused on sexual and reproductive health and approximately a third addressed alcohol and tobacco. A third of the countries examined adolescents' mental health.