Half of youth deaths in the Americas could be prevented

A quarter of the population in the Americas is comprised of people between 10 and 24 years old. Of this portion, around 230 thousand young people die every year on the continent, with 80% of deaths occurring in men.

The data are from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

Also according to a recent PAHO report, half of the deaths of young people in the Americas could be prevented.

The report took into account: the causes of death, illness, sexual health, substance use, nutrition and physical exercise among young people present in all 48 countries and colonies in America.


Major causes of preventable death

The study considers as preventable death those that happen by traffic accident, murder and suicide .

Among these three causes of death, the most common is homicide, representing 24% of cases. Traffic accidents occupy 20% and suicides 7%.

The organization says that more than 45,000 young people between 15 and 24 years of age die from homicide. Although the number varies between countries, between 60% and 70% of these deaths are from firearms.

PAHO also noted that the suicide rate has been increasing.

The country with the highest rate of suicidal youth is French Guiana, with 51.6 per 100,000 youth. On average, 12,000 young people take their own lives each year in the Americas.

Read more: September Yellow Campaign seeks to bring dialogue about suicide

Other worrying data

Between 2010 and 2014, maternal mortality (complications in pregnancy and childbirth) was the fourth leading cause of death for young women.

It is estimated that between these years, on average, 66 babies were born per 1,000 girls between 15 and 19 years of age, characterizing America as the second continent with the highest rates of teenage pregnancies.

Also according to PAHO, certain groups suffer more from health problems. They are young blacks, LGBTIs, immigrants and indigenous people.

Improving youth health

In order to reduce the negative impacts on young people’s health and improve their quality of life, WHO points out some recommendations to the authorities:

  • Enable health systems that are geared to the needs of young people;
  • Ensure that health programs are financed and involve areas other than health;
  • Addressing vulnerable groups;
  • Encourage young people to be the change in their country;
  • Train those who work with young people;
  • Create evaluation programs for improvements.

Several measures can be taken to prevent the death of young people. Among them, the creation and maintenance of programs that take care of the physical and mental health of this portion of the population.