WHO report sheds light on Canadian youth health

UBC Nursing Prof. Elizabeth Saewyc is one of five co-authors of a new World Health Organization report on global adolescent health. The report cites the top causes of illness, disability and death for boys and girls aged 10 to 19, and reveals positive and concerning health trends for Canadian youth.

Where Canada stacks up in the world:

  • Canadian youth smoking rates are declining along with most European countries, and we’re among the lowest across the world
  • Marijuana use is also declining, but we have the highest proportion of teens who have tried it in the world
  • Depression is the leading cause of disability and illness in youth ages 10 to 19 worldwide, and the second leading cause of death in Canada
  • More youth are eating fruits and vegetables every day, but like youth in most countries, they still don’t get the recommended amount of daily physical activity
  • Deaths from measles in Africa have declined 90 per cent due to increased immunizations, but here in Canada, measles outbreaks are on the rise, because immunization rates are dropping
  • The World Health Organization recommends universal health coverage for adolescents, a practice which Canada already adopts through the Canada Health Act

Story sources

Elizabeth Saewyc
UBC Professor of Nursing

Saewyc is available for interviews Friday, May 16 after 9:30 a.m. Please contact Tracy Tang at tracy.tang@nursing.ubc.ca to arrange an interview.

Other resources


Tracy Tang
Communications Manager
Faculty of Nursing
Phone: 604.827.3367
Email: tracy.tang@nursing.ubc.ca