Today more than one-fifth i.e. about 22 crore people of India are adolesents. Adolescents are young girls and boys in the age group of 10-19 years. They are the immediate future of our country and would be the leaders of tomorrow. Adolescence is the phase of opportunities and risks. Social environment greatly influences adolescent behaviour. To create a nation of healthy and responsible citizens, it is crucial that the health and educational concerns of such young people are addressed seriously. Adolescents have Rights as well as Responsibilities. Gender considerations are fundamental and adolescent health is crucial for the family and future generations. A supportive and caring environment for adolescents will promote optimum development of their physical and intellectual capabilities.
- Many of the girls in India get married before the age of 18 years.
- The present sex ratio in the age group of 0-6 years is 933 for 1000 boys (census 2001). This imbalance will adversely affect the subsequent adolescent sex ratio.
- Each year more females die than males, especially in the reproductive age group, due to high risk during pregnancy and childbirth.
- Incidence of unintended teenage pregnancies and abortions is alarmingly rising.
- Drug addiction in itself is a major problem. Many of the drug users are HIV positive and are below 20 years.
- Large number of addicts starts taking drugs during adolescence.
- Most of the HIV infected persons are between 20-40 years and had contracted the virus early in life indicating the importance of education during adolescence.
- Prevalence of sexual abuse of both boys and girls cuts across economic and social classes.
- Majority of girls and boys are not competent to understand the physical, emotional and sociological changes during adolescence.