The health of young people in a global context

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

196 Scopus citations


Purpose To examine the chief causes and influences of morbidity and mortality among young people throughout the world. Methods A comprehensive literature search was conducted that included WHO's Global Burden of Disease, UNFPA's State of the Worlds' Population, Medline, Popline, Sociological Abstracts, as well as data collected from UNICEF, UNAIDS, Population Reference Bureau, and the United Nations Headquarters. Experts in the fields of substance use, suicide, and infectious diseases were also contacted for unpublished and published sources. Studies were restricted to those completed after 1985, had a sample size of at least 100, focused primarily on the age group of 10-24 years, and examined trends related to unintentional injuries, HIV/AIDS, suicide, homicide, war, maternal mortality, pregnancy, abortion, sexually transmitted diseases, substance abuse, and infectious diseases. Results Trends in adolescent morbidity and mortality have shifted over the past decade from predominately infectious to social etiologies. Currently, unintentional injury is the leading killer of young people in nearly every region of the world, with homicide, war, and interpersonal violence following closely behind. Conclusions The changes in population, migration, age of marriage, and education have had profound impact on the mortality and morbidity among adolescents. As we come to learn about the factors that influence adolescent morbidity and mortality, we begin to have a better understanding of how to improve the health of youth throughout the world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)402-418
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Gender differences
  • Health risk behaviors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'The health of young people in a global context'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this