International developments in adolescent health care: a story of advocacy and achievement

J Adolesc Health. 2003 Oct;33(4):240-51. doi: 10.1016/s1054-139x(03)00203-9.


The contemporary health problems of young people occur within the context of the physical, social, cultural, economic, and political realities within which they live. There are commonalities and differences in this context among developed and developing countries, thus differing effects on the individual's personal as well as national development. Internationally, the origins and evolution of health care for adolescents can be viewed as an unfolding saga taking place particularly over the past 30 years. It is a story of advocacy and subsequent achievement in all corners of the world. This paper reviews the important developments in the international arena, recognizes major pioneers and milestones, and explores some of the current and future issues facing the field. The authors draw heavily on their experiences with the major nongovernmental adolescent health organizations. The special roles of the World Health Organization, Pan American Health Organization, and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) are highlighted, and special consideration is given to the challenge of inclusion through youth participation.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Health Services / history*
  • Adolescent Medicine / history*
  • Health Education
  • Health Promotion
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation / history*
  • Pan American Health Organization / history
  • Primary Prevention
  • United States
  • World Health Organization / history