Adolescents and young adults make up over a quarter of the global population. They can also be considered the most pervasively neglected group in global health. Yet a quiet revolution is now bringing a recognition that adolescents are central in almost every major challenge in global health. Bringing greater visibility to adolescents and their health has been an important facet of that recognition. This is also a central theme of the new Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Well-being. This presentation will track progress in our understandings of adolescent health and major influences on health over these years. It will also address currently available global data, gaps, and potential solutions. The Global Burden of Disease Study in particular has an important role in the new Commission and in guiding the development of better health information systems for this age group.
George Patton is a Senior Principal Research Fellow with Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council. His group has undertaken epidemiological studies ranging from clinical and community intervention trials to longitudinal studies of the effects of adolescent health and adjustment on subsequent life chances. This more recently includes investigation of adolescent preconception predictors of a healthy start to life for the next generation. He played a leading role around two series on adolescent health for The Lancet that presented some of the first and most comprehensive global overviews of health and development in young people. He has had advisory roles with the UN, World Health Organization, the World Bank, and UNICEF. He is chair of the new Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Well-being.