Further action needed to realise full health potential of European children and adolescents


A health policy article, authored by our centre’s Policy Advisor and colleagues, has been published in The Lancet. The article entitled Child and adolescent health in Europe: monitoring implementation of policies and provision of services assesses the situation in the WHO European Region by summarizing national gains and highlighting areas for further action. It is based on the WHO progress report “Situation of child and adolescent health in Europe”.

Key findings include:

  • Childhood obesity and the mental health of adolescents are key areas of concern in the Region.
  • Access to sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents is unequal across the Region.
  • Promotion of breastfeeding, regulation of marketing of food for infants and toddlers, and improvement of school nutrition is needed across the Region.
  • Most countries do not systematically collect key data on children and adolescents and therefore cannot address areas of concern for health.

The article demonstrates that while some progress has been made, further action needs to be taken in every country to make children and adolescents visible and to release their full health potential.

Since all 53 countries of the Region have committed to improvements in child and adolescent health, this article also aims to promote national dialogue that could lead to progress in child and adolescent health. “Investing in children: the European child and adolescent health strategy 2015–2020” is a regional template for strengthening child and adolescent health that countries can build from. This work is part of our centre’s ongoing work with WHO to support the monitoring of the region’s strategy in countries.

Complete data, by country, are available in the full WHO progress report and on the European Health Information Gateway.

Related documents:

Child and adolescent health in Europe: monitoring implementation of policies and provision of services

Situation of child and adolescent health in Europe (2018)

Progress report submitted to the Regional Committee (EUR/RC68/8 (E))

European Health Information Gateway – data on child and adolescent health: Country profiles | Status of health policies