Adolescence as a key stage in the life course has until quite recently been neglected by researchers and policymakers alike. Research on young people has largely focused on the early years of life, especially from pre-conception to age 5, with enormous investment in studying and intervening to improve wellbeing of young children. However, when ‘around 1 in 6 persons in the world is an adolescent’1 it is impossible to neglect this age group. Reports like ‘The Lancet’ series on adolescent health,2–11 UNICEF’s Progress for Children: a Report Card on Adolescents12 and WHO’s Health for the World’s Adolescents report13 shifted global attention and highlighted the importance of adolescence as a second critical period in development where investment and intervention is needed and valuable since it lays the foundation of good health in adulthood. McDaid et al.14 have taken this argument a step further and provided the economic case for investment in adolescents. They demonstrate how available interventions during adolescence can generate substantial economic returns because they can mitigate the long-term adverse effects on health and other areas that result from poor wellbeing during childhood.
- adolescent health services
- health behaviour