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Current Health Policy May Not Serve Young People Well

Last Updated: September 11, 2009.

A high proportion of deaths in young people worldwide are due to intentional and unintentional injury, and the current adolescent health policy focus on HIV/AIDS and maternal mortality is not enough to prevent mortality amongst youngsters, according to a study in the Sept. 12 issue of The Lancet.

FRIDAY, Sept. 11 (HealthDay News) -- A high proportion of deaths in young people worldwide are due to intentional and unintentional injury, and the current adolescent health policy focus on HIV/AIDS and maternal mortality is not enough to prevent mortality amongst youngsters, according to a study in the Sept. 12 issue of The Lancet.

George C. Patton, M.D., of the University of Melbourne in Parkville, Australia, and colleagues analyzed data from the 2004 Global Burden of Disease Study and the 2006 World Health Report to assess causes of death among the world's population of 10- to 24-year-olds.

In 2004 there were 2.6 million deaths in the 10- to 24-year-old age group, of which 2.56 million (97 percent) occurred in low- and middle-income countries, and two-thirds occurred in sub-Saharan Africa and southeast Asia, the researchers discovered. Traffic accidents accounted for 14 percent of male and 5 percent of female deaths, violence caused 12 percent of male deaths and suicide 6 percent of all deaths, while HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis contributed to 11 percent of all deaths and maternal conditions accounted for 15 percent of female deaths, the investigators found.

"Present global priorities for adolescent health policy, which focus on HIV/AIDS and maternal mortality, are an important but insufficient response to prevent mortality in an age-group in which more than two in five deaths are due to intentional and unintentional injuries," the authors write.

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