04/05/2011

In recent years there has been a dramatic reduction in infant mortality, but when it comes to teenagers there has not been the same sort of progress. This week the whole programme is devoted to adolescent health and Claudia Hammond is joined in the studio by David Ross, Professor of Epidemiology and International Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Two thirds of premature deaths in adults can be traced back to behaviour which began during teenage years. So it seems clear that you need to influence people when they are young if you want to make a difference to their health, and to do that you need to grab their interest.

In South Africa, where one in six adults have the HIV virus, a charity is using football to inform young people about HIV. Although there have been extensive safe sex campaigns, many teenagers are not taking on board important health messages and are still having sex without using condoms. GrassRoot Soccer is hoping to change all that with a series of football-based educational programmes in schools. The BBC's Louise Redvers reports from one such high school in Johannesburg.

The single most preventable cause of death in the world today is smoking, something which many people take up in their teens. One hundred and fifty million young people use tobacco and half of them will die prematurely as a result. A YouTube film of a two-year-old Indonesian boy blowing smoke rings shocked many people when it came out last year. One in three children in Indonesia starts smoking before the age of ten and by the time they are teenagers, rates of smoking are amongst the highest in the world.

Indonesia is unusual in not having ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The country still shows adverts for cigarettes on TV and tobacco firms even sponsor students to go to college. Mia Hanafiah from the National Commission on Tobacco Control in Indonesia is calling for a complete ban on tobacco advertising.

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18 minutes

Last on

Sun 8 May 2011 23:32 GMT

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