A new World Health Organization (WHO) report has highlighted major health challenges facing children and adolescents in Europe.
The latest WHO progress report, Situation of child and adolescent health in Europe 2018, says while most children in the region have a "happy, healthy childhood and adolescence", high childhood obesity and low physical activity rates "abound" in the region. The report shows tobacco and alcohol use is prevalent among adolescents and cannabis use is more prevalent in European Union countries than in countries of eastern Europe, central Asia and the Balkans. Two in five adolescent girls and one in three boys report having unprotected sex.
The report also highlights a number of concerns around healthcare provision. About one-third of countries do not have community services available for providing early intervention for young people with a first episode of a mental health problem. Only one in four countries are collecting data on the number of children treated by a mental health professional.
The report also found essential drugs lists and paediatric formulations for essential drugs are not widely available across the region, while a quarter of countries, for which data was available, do not have a system in place to train health professionals in adolescent health.