The Health of Adolescents in the Dutch and British Overseas Caribbean Territories. A multiterritory profile
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The second decade of life, or adolescence, is a time of opportunity and potential, but also of vulnerability. Young people go through physical and emotional changes. They take on behaviors that can have lasting effects on their health and development. Many of the health behaviors that are acquired during adolescence, such as nutritional habits, physical activity, and the use of substances, can profoundly impact the health trajectory—and morbidity and mortality. Nevertheless, the majority of adolescent morbidity and mortality is preventable. In the Caribbean in 2012, the three main causes of adolescent mortality were homicide, traffic injuries, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-related causes. Accidental drowning and intentional self-harm or suicide were also among the 10 major causes of adolescent mortality. Suicides moved from mortality cause number 9 in 2011 to number 7 in 2012...The objective of the studies was to generate strategic information on the health and wellness of young persons in the OCTs that could help guide efforts to strengthen services and develop targeted interventions to address the sexual and reproductive health (SRH) needs and other health needs of young persons in the OCTs. The health issues and related factors addressed in the studies included HIV and SRH, mental health, substance use, diet, exercise and body image, violence, family, peers, and school and community relations. PAHO supported data analysis and the development of a report for each of the participating territories, to enable optimal use of the collected data on the territory level. This report provides a multiterritory profile of adolescents aged 15–19 years in the OCTs that was generated through analysis of the pooled data collected in the six OCTs.