The Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (national adolescent health programme) would help achieve improved health outcomes for the whole population, an official said.
Adolescents aged between 10-19 years of age constitute about one-fifth of India's population.
"By investing in adolescent health today, we invest in the workforce, parents, and leaders of tomorrow, and break the inter-generational cycle of poor health," Anuradha Gupta, joint secretary in the health ministry, said at a press conference Monday.
Investments in adolescents will have an immediate, direct and positive impact on India's health goals and on the achievement of several Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), she said.
The programme envisions that all adolescents in India are able to realize their full potential by making informed and responsible decisions related to their health and well-being.
Key drivers of the programme would be peer educators, counsellors, parents and the community.
More than 33 percent of the disease burden and almost 60 percent of premature deaths among adults are associated with behaviours or conditions that began or occurred during adolescence-for instance tobacco and alcohol use, poor eating habits, violence, sexual abuse, and risk taking behaviour.
The National Family Health Survey-3 indicates that 56 percent of girls and 30 percent of boys aged 15-19 years are anaemic.
--IANS (Posted on 07-01-2014)