Lancet Commission on adolescent health and wellbeing

  • Background and Aims

    This is the largest generation of adolescents and young adults in human history (1.8 billion), they are a group that demands more attention and action. Adolescents and young adults face unprecedented social, economic, and cultural change. The Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing argues that there are tremendous unrealised opportunities not only for the health and wellbeing of young people themselves but also for the future of society and future generations. Inaction however remains a threat to health, economic development, and even the health of our planet. The most powerful actions for adolescent health and wellbeing are intersectoral, multilevel, and multicomponent and engage and empower young people themselves to be part of change and accountability mechanisms.

    Adolescence is generally thought to be the healthiest time of life, and young people have therefore attracted little interest and too few resources. The 2016 Lancet Commission concluded that investing in adolescents will yield a triple benefit - today, into adulthood, and the next generation of children.

    The Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing was established in 2013 and was a partnership of 30 of the world’s leading experts (those working in academic and technical institutions, and those at the policy/ implementation coalface) from 14 countries and two youth health advocates.

    The Commission’s work was organised around six central themes:

    • Adolescence within the life course
    • Promoting health equity and justice for young people
    • Increasing global visibility, monitoring and accountability related to young people
    • Strengthening protective environments for young people
    • Scaling up sustainable and effective actions among young people
    • Engaging and empowering young people


    Auspiced by The Lancetand led by four academic institutions: The University of Melbourne, University College London, The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Columbia University.

    It ran in partnership with: the University of Washington’s, Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation,International Center for Research on Women, Public Health Foundation of India and American University of Beirut.


    Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, The University of Melbourne, Australia India Institute and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.

    Key Papers

    Commission_front_cover Patton, G. C., Sawyer, S. M., Santelli, J. S., Ross, D. A., Afifi, R., Allen, N. B., ... & Kakuma, R. (2016). Our future: a Lancet commission on adolescent health and wellbeing. The Lancet387(10036), 2423-2478.

    Mokdad, A. H., Forouzanfar, M. H., Daoud, F., Mokdad, A. A., El Bcheraoui, C., Moradi-Lakeh, M., ... & Kravitz, H. (2016). Global burden of diseases, injuries, and risk factors for young people's health during 1990–2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013. The Lancet387(10036), 2383-2401.

    Sheehan, P., Sweeny, K., Rasmussen, B., Wils, A., Friedman, H. S., Mahon, J., ... & Stenberg, K. (2017). Building the foundations for sustainable development: a case for global investment in the capabilities of adolescents. The Lancet390(10104), 1792-1806.

    Digital media

    Further information on can be found on the AdolescentsOurFuture website.

    Follow the Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing on Twitter

    Additional information about the Commission can be found on The Lancet website.