Teenage Weight Tied to Odds of Diabetes-Related Death

Teenage Weight Tied to Odds of Diabetes-Related DeathThe increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and eventually dying from the disease, begins early in life and at weights in the “normal” range, a new study suggests.

Researchers followed the fates of millions of Israeli teenagers weighed at age 17, and found a steady increase in the likelihood of death from diabetes-related causes up to age 70 that was tied to heavier weights in the teen years.

“This study provides further evidence for the urgent need for firm public health actions to overcome the childhood obesity epidemic, as its devastating impact on human health is currently underestimated,” said coauthor Hagai Levine of Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Public Health and Community Medicine in Jerusalem.

“Overall, elevated BMI at adolescence, including values within the currently accepted ‘normal’ range, strongly increase risk of diabetes mortality later in life,” Levine told Reuters Health by email.

The researchers used data on more than 2 million Israeli adolescents who underwent a physical examination when they were evaluated for military service between 1967 and 2010. The study team then grouped the teens based on age, sex and body mass index (BMI), a measure of weight relative to height.

Following the entire group in national medical records, researchers found 481 deaths with diabetes mellitus listed as the underlying cause. The average age at death was 50 years, and diabetes caused about 1.5 percent of all deaths in the group during the follow-up period.

“Diabetes deaths are sufficiently common to be concerned about,” said Majid Ezzati, chair of global and environmental health at Imperial College London, who was not involved in the study.

“More importantly, the results could also imply an increased risk of diabetes disease which leads to long term morbidity and to other conditions like heart disease and kidney disease.”

BMIs between 18.5 and 24.9 are usually considered to be in the healthy range, 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight and 30 or above is considered obese.

The researchers found that starting at a BMI of 22.4, well within the normal range, as teenage BMI rose, the risk of eventual death from diabetes gradually increased as well. Teens with a BMI between 18 and 20 had the lowest overall risk of later dying from diabetes, according to the report in Diabetes Care.

Less than 10 percent of 17-year-olds were overweight or obese in this group in the years 1967 to 1977, which increased to 20 percent of teens examined between 2012 and 2014, researchers note.

“The part of these results that many people will find surprising is that there is a higher likelihood of diabetes-related death even when, as teenagers, individuals were within the ‘normal’ weight range, but on the heavier end of it,” said Asheley Skinner of the Duke Clinical Research Institute in Durham, North Carolina.

Teens shouldn’t be worried about dying from diabetes, but should be worried about developing a healthy diet and making physical activity part of their daily lives, regardless of current weight, said Skinner, who wasn’t involved in the study.

“Teens who are already struggling with obesity should focus on using diet and activity to maintain weight and prevent the severity of obesity from worsening,” she said by email. “Obesity and type 2 diabetes are both part of complicated metabolic system that we are still learning a lot about,” Skinner said.

“One of the major limitations of this study is that they don’t have adult BMI. It’s possible that once you consider the effect of adult BMI, teen BMI would no longer be an important factor,” she cautioned. “In other words, it’s possible that obesity as a teen itself is not the problem, but rather that teens with obesity are more likely to become adults with obesity.”


Kids Need Just Two Doses of Cancer Vaccine

Kids Need Just Two Doses of Cancer VaccineKids aged 11-12 should get only two doses of a vaccine to prevent cancers caused by human papillomavirus, instead of the previously recommended three shots, US health authorities said Thursday.

The updated recommendation from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is based on research that shows younger adolescents can get similar protection that way, and may be more likely to get vaccinated if fewer shots are required.

HPV is a common sexually transmitted infection that can cause cancers of the head, neck, cervix, penis and anus.

Some 27,000 men and women are diagnosed in the United States with HPV-caused cancers each year.

“Safe, effective, and long-lasting protection against HPV cancers with two visits instead of three means more Americans will be protected from cancer,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden.

“This recommendation will make it simpler for parents to get their children protected in time.”
The two doses should be given six months apart.

Those aged 15-26 should continue to receive three doses, said the CDC.

The change was urged by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), a panel of experts that advises the CDC on vaccine recommendations in the United States.

“CDC and ACIP made this recommendation after a thorough review of studies over several meetings,” the CDC said in a statement.

“CDC and ACIP reviewed data from clinical trials showing two doses of HPV vaccine in younger adolescents (aged 9-14 years) produced an immune response similar or higher than the response in young adults (aged 16-26 years) who received three doses.”

While the change in recommendation specifically referred to 11-12 year olds, the CDC added that “adolescents ages 13-14 are also able to receive HPV vaccination on the new 2-dose schedule.”
Many teens and pre-teens are still not getting vaccinated against HPV.

About two in five girls and three in five boys have not started the recommended HPV vaccine series, the CDC says.


Malta Tops EU Obesity Rankings, Romania Thinnest

Malta Tops EU Obesity Rankings, Romania ThinnestMalta has the highest proportion of obese adults in Europe, according to EU figures released Thursday, while Romania is the least obese.

In total just under a sixth of adults living in the European Union are obese — 15.9 percent, according to the Eurostat statistics agency, which said the figure goes up amongst older and less educated Europeans.

Counting 26 percent of its adults as obese, the Mediterranean island of Malta appears the worst hit by the public health problem, followed by Latvia and Hungary.

Britain — which leads the way in consuming the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, according to Eurostat figures released last week — came in fifth place with 20.1 percent.

Romania may not be doing so well on eating its greens — it came in last place on that ranking — but its rates of obesity are the lowest in Europe at 9.4 percent, ahead of Italy (10.7 percent) and the Netherlands (13.3 percent).

“With the exception of those aged 75 or over, the older the age group, the higher the share of obese persons,” Eurostat said in a statement. Only 5.7 percent of 18-24 year-olds are obese, compared to 22.1 percent of 65-74 year-olds.

There is also a clear link between education and obesity, with almost a fifth in the lowest-qualified category classed as obese compared to 11.5 percent for those with higher education.

Eurostat defines obesity as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of more than 30, where BMI is the weight in kilograms divided by the square of a person’s height in metres.

Obesity — which carries with it a range of health problems including greater risks of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers — has doubled globally since 1980, according to the World Health Organization.


Raising a Vegan Baby: There’s a Right Way And a Wrong Way

Raising a Vegan Baby: There's a Right Way And a Wrong Way
There’s a right way and a wrong way to raise a baby on vegan food. Those who get it wrong, parents say, give the responsible ones a bad name.

A Pennsylvania mother claiming to be vegan was charged this month with child endangerment for feeding her baby nothing but small amounts of nuts and berries.

In Italy, after a number of vegan babies required hospitalization for malnourishment, a lawmaker this summer proposed a bill that would make it a crime to feed children under 16 a vegan diet.

Those cases are not about veganism at all, but are instead about neglect, say parents who are raising their children vegan. Pinning bad parenting on vegan diets, some say, unfairly stigmatizes those who have done their homework and are safely raising their babies without feeding them animal products like meat and dairy.

“They stress the elements of veganism in these stories, but it’s not that these people aren’t giving their children the right kind of food, it’s that they aren’t feeding them,” said Fulvia Serra, of Fort Collins, Colorado. The native of southern Italy is raising her 1-year-old son vegan, and her 12-year-old daughter is vegetarian.

“To get a child to the point of starvation, it means you are ignoring him and his crying all the time,” she said. “It’s neglect.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics’ book “Pediatric Nutrition” devotes a chapter to vegetarian and vegan diets. It describes how, with sound nutrition and dietary planning, “it is possible to provide a balanced diet to vegetarians and vegans.”

“For children in general you can have a safe vegan diet, but it has to be in consultation with a pediatrician or health care provider,” said Sheela Magge, an endocrinologist at the Children’s National Health System and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ committee on nutrition .

“These are critical times in brain development, and it has to be done carefully.”

The ideal first food for babies is breast milk, Magge said. Many vegan moms opt to breastfeed, but for those who can’t or don’t, the only other option is a soy-based formula.

Key nutrients for babies are Vitamin B-12 and Vitamin D, as well as iron, zinc and calcium, Magge said. Getting enough B-12, which comes from milk and eggs, is a specific concern in the vegan diet, since a shortage can lead to neurological problems.

As babies nurse less and start consuming more solid foods, parents need to make sure all the nutrients necessary for proper development are being provided. A pediatrician can help guide parents and offer supplements if needed.

In the Pennsylvania case, Elizabeth Hawk was charged Oct. 4 with endangering her 11-month-old son by restricting him to a diet of small amounts of fruit and nuts. Hawk, 30, of Farmington, became “obsessed” with a vegan diet, prompting her estranged husband to contact Fayette County child welfare workers, according to a criminal complaint.

Doctors determined in August that the baby had developmental delays and couldn’t crawl because he was malnourished, according to the complaint. The malnourishment also worsened a bad rash, the complaint said.

Calls seeking comment from Hawk, her former husband and the public defender’s office weren’t returned.

Stories of vegan parents being arrested for malnourished children pop up every few years in the U.S., and the cases in Italy have made international news.

In Arizona, Kimu Parker was arrested in April 2005 for nearly starving her three children with a diet she and the children’s father called vegan. She was sentenced to 30 years in prison; the father, Blair Parker, got 15 years.

In Florida in 2005, Joseph and Lamoy Andressohn got probation for neglect in the death of their 6-month-old son, who was fed only wheat grass, coconut water and almond milk.

In Georgia, Jade Sanders and Lamont Thomas were sentenced to life in prison for the 2004 death of their 6-week-old son, who starved to death after they fed him a too-limited diet of soy milk and apple juice.

Suzanne Lewis, a high school biology teacher in Reno, Nevada, who is raising her 8-year-old son vegan, feels more scrutinized when she hears such stories.

“It makes me wonder if people are questioning me,” she said. Vegan acquaintances have told her about being forwarded such articles from disapproving friends and family members, she said.

Reed Mangels is a nutritionist in Amherst, Massachusetts, who works with the Vegetarian Resource Group, a nonprofit education and advocacy group. She raised her two children, now 24 and 21, vegan.

She said such news stories about malnourished children can be stressful for parents who have done their homework and have to defend themselves time and again.

“The problem is not the vegan part of the diet, but it’s the inadequacy of the diet,” she said of the cases that make the news.

“Where on earth did they get the idea that this was a vegan diet?” she said.

Parents raising vegan kids need to be armed with facts, like being able to rattle off which foods and supplements are providing adequate vitamin B-12 and protein and where their kids are getting calcium.

For those who would question the safety of raising vegan babies, her suggested response is: “The doctors say we are doing it right.”


World Iodine Deficiency Day: Understanding the Importance of Iodine

World Iodine Deficiency Day: Understanding the Importance of Iodine

Minerals and vitamins are vital for a healthy life. They play a significant role in the physical and mental development of humans from conception itself. The main micronutrient deficiencies which are creating public health problems worldwide are iodine, iron, folic acid, vitamin A and zinc.

What is Iodine?

Iodine is an essential dietary mineral that is stored in the thyroid gland. It is essential for the production of thyroid hormones thyroxine (T3) and triiodothyronine (T4). Thyroid hormones affect all the cells in the human body, they are important for the proper development of cells. They play a crucial role in increasing the metabolic rate of the body, in protein metabolism; regulate the growth of long bones and for the development of the brain. Thyroid hormones are closely linked to protein, fat and carbohydrate metabolism in cells.

The Indian Iodine Story

Iodine deficiency is a reality in India because the soil in our part of the world is iodine deficient; especially in the North and North Eastern States. It is estimated that 350 million people are at risk of iodine deficiency disorders. To combat this, common salt was fortified with iodine; which now reaches about 91% of households in the country. However, adequate consumption of iodized salt is only 71%. Did you know: Iodine deficiency disease (IDD) is the largest cause of preventable brain damage?

How Much is Enough?

Iodine is not made in our body; we get our share through the food and water we ingest. Recommended allowances (ICMR 2010) for various age groups are as follows:

Iodine Deficiency

Iodine deficiency can lead to goitre (enlargement of thyroid), hypothyroidism and mental retardation in infants and children whose mother was iodine deficient during pregnancy. Women who are planning a family should start having adequate amounts of iodine in their diet to build up good stores before getting pregnant. Pregnancy and lactation also demand higher intakes to make adequate thyroid hormones, which play a crucial role in the baby’s brain development.

Sources of Iodine

Salt: In India, sale of non-iodized salt is banned. This makes salt the single most important source of iodine for Indians. Daily intake of 10g of iodized salt with 15ppm of iodine provides 150µg/day. The average salt intake in Indian homes range from 5-10g/day, 30% is lost during cooking and 70% is absorbed, providing an average amount of 70µg/day.

Bread: Thanks to the iodized salt rule, the iodine content in bread is considerable at 25µg/100 g. Two slices of bread would be good, choose the multigrain variety for a healthier option.

Milk: It is another source of iodine with 303µg/litre. Milk is also a great source of protein, vitamins and important minerals like calcium. Half a litre of milk is the minimum quantity needed by adults to obtain the 150µg RDA.

Yogurt: If you are intolerant to lactose, dahi or yogurt is another healthy option for getting iodine from milk. Probiotics in dahi also improve gut health.

Sea Vegetables: Kelp and wakame are extremely high in iodine content. They are also great sources of iron, antioxidants and other beneficial nutrients, which make them a nutritious choice.

Sea Food: Sardines, tuna, shrimps, cod and scallops, all are considered excellent sources of iodine. Besides, seafood also provides the essential omega-3 fatty acids.

Eggs: Yolks of eggs are another source of iodine, great for children as they provide another essential “brain nutrient” folate too.

Vegetables and Fruits: Sweet potato, onion, spinach, banana, and cantaloupe contain iodine. Strawberry provide about 13µg/cup.

Adversaries: Foods containing thiocyanates interfere with the uptake of iodine by the thyroid gland. If you are on supplements or prone to iodine deficiency, eliminating or reducing the intake of cassava, soy, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, mustard greens, turnip may be a good strategy.

Iodine supplementation should only be done under medical supervision. Eating a healthy and varied diet is adequate to meet your iodine needs. Complete elimination of iodized salts or substitution with unfortified rock salt is not a good strategy. People with hypertension or heart diseases may reduce their salt intake but ensure that they take other good sources of iodine regularly.


Men Can Also Get Osteoporosis

Men Can Also Get OsteoporosisLong thought to be a “women’s disease”, osteoporosis can affect men too because apart from the hormonal changes around menopause, factors such as low testosterone levels, sedentary lifestyle choices, excessive consumption of alcohol and smoking or tobacco-use can also contribute to the disease, health experts suggest.

Osteoporosis, which causes bones to become weak and brittle, affects more women because they tend to have thinner bones than men. Moreover, it is also known that as women reach menopause, their vulnerabilities to the disease go up because estrogen, a hormone in women that protects bones, decreases sharply during this time.

“Though women are more prone to osteoporosis it is also found in men, and testosterone being low in levels or deficient, low levels of vitamin D and calcium, lifestyle habits that include smoking, alcohol consumption, and lack of exercise are the primary factors to blame,” Rana K. Chengappa, Clinical Director, Sports Medicine, AktivOrtho, an orthopaedic, neurological and gynaecological rehabilitation centre here, told IANS.

A recent study by researchers at Harvard Medical School found that visceral, or deep belly, obesity is a risk factor for bone loss and decreased bone strength in men.

“It is important for men to be aware that excess belly fat is not only a risk factor for heart disease and diabetes, it is also a risk factor for bone loss,” one of the researchers, Miriam Bredella, told a meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.

Osteoporosis is a serious disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone or makes too little bone. As bones become less dense, they weaken and are more likely to break.

“Osteoporosis mean holes in the bones. This weakening of bones may increase the risk of fractures. The disease itself, though silent, can result in fractures of important bones like hips, spine and wrists,” Sanjay Agarwala, Head-Orthopaedics and Traumatology, P.D. Hinduja National Hospital, Mumbai, explained.

There are many health problems such as celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, kidney or liver disease, cancer and rheumatoid arthritis that can also increase the risk of osteoporosis.

“Many health problems like blood disorders, digestive disorders, autoimmune disorders and neural disorders may increase the risk of osteoporosis. Usage of high dosage of certain medicines for a long time may also reduce the bone mineral density,” Pradeep Moonot, Orthopaedic Surgeon, Breach Candy Hospital, Mumbai, noted.

While some of the risk factors for osteoporosis, such as body type, family history and age, are beyond our control, the experts suggested that there are several ways to prevent and control osteoporosis such as getting involved in physical activities, yoga, dancing and aerobics.

“Weight-bearing exercises such as running, jogging, walking, climbing stairs and yoga help a lot in reshaping our bones,” said Vinay Gupta, Head of Department and Senior Consultant, Orthopaedics, Saroj Super Speciality Hospital here.

“Your diet should include low fattening dairy products like toned milk, yogurt and low-fat cheese, fresh fruits and green vegetables,” Chengappa added.

The trouble with osteoporosis is that it is a silent disease and one gets to know only after suffering a fracture after a trivial fall or after a backache investigation that reveals a compression fracture of the spine.

“One of the ways to detect it is to do a Bone Mineral Density (BMD) test which gives us information on bone density,” Chengappa said.
“Women who have achieved menopause and men beyond 70 need to take special precautions to avoid falls,” said Raman Kant Aggarwal, Team Orthopedics, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute in the capital.

The experts also warned that as osteoporosis often limits mobility, it may also lead to feelings of isolation or depression in long-term sufferers.


Cutting Calories May Dial Back Metabolic Syndrome In Older Adults

Cutting Calories May Dial Back Metabolic Syndrome In Older AdultsFor overweight and obese older men and women, adding calorie restriction to a resistance training schedule improves at least some metabolic markers, according to a new study.

Although resistance training alone seemed to have no effect on so-called metabolic syndrome – a group of markers linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease – the exercise is still important for maintaining bone and muscle in older people, researchers say.

“The results are not really surprising as it is challenging to improve the cardiometabolic profile with resistance training only,” said lead author Eve Normandin of Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

“There are some studies in middle-aged adults that do see some improvements following resistance training but not many in older adults,” Normandin told Reuters Health by email.

Metabolic syndrome is the term for a cluster of symptoms, including abdominal obesity, high cholesterol and triglycerides, high blood pressure, inflammation and impaired processing of insulin.

Older people are at the greatest risk of having metabolic syndrome, Normandin and her colleagues write in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. Past studies have shown that weight loss can help reverse metabolic syndrome, so can aerobic exercise with or without dieting.

But most of these studies have been in middle aged people, the authors write.

In the five-month trial, 63 sedentary and overweight or obese adults aged 65 to 79 years were assigned to a progressive resistance training program three times per week while 63 similar adults were assigned to the same program plus calorie restriction.

The resistance training program was individually tailored to participants and generally included three sets of 10 repetitions for eight exercises at each workout. The calorie restriction group was also assigned a dietary program including meal replacements, nutrition education and behavior modification advice delivered at weekly meetings with a registered dietitian.

Participants were assigned a daily caloric goal and kept a diet log of all foods consumed.

Overall, those doing only resistance training did not lose any weight by the end of the trial, but participants also restricting their calories lost an average 6 percent of their body weight as well as specifically reducing fat around the abdomen.

The calorie restricted group also lowered their blood pressure, triglycerides and one of the “bad” forms of cholesterol, very low density lipoprotein. There were no changes in metabolic syndrome markers in the group doing only resistance training.

“Many studies have shown that reducing calories is the key to changing the health factors this study focused on – cholesterol, triglycerides, obesity, and insulin resistance,” said Dr. Anne McTiernan of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington.

“Other studies have shown some benefit on these when comparing exercise to no exercise (whether aerobic or resistance exercise), but reducing calories consistently overpowers exercise effects,” said McTiernan, who wasn’t involved with the new study.

“I wouldn’t say that caloric restriction is the only way to manage metabolic syndrome,” Normandin said. “Resistance training is one type of exercise, we might have observed improvement in metabolic syndrome following an aerobic exercise.”

Resistance training has beneficial effects on muscle and physical function which can improve body composition, muscle strength and physical function in older adults who were overweight or obese, she said.

“Individuals who are 65 years and older, have the metabolic syndrome and are overweight or obese should progressively try to lose weight by caloric restriction,” Normandin said. “I would recommend adding strength training in older individuals with metabolic syndrome to preserve musculoskeletal health and function as well.”

“People can undertake a caloric restriction without consulting a doctor but I would recommend they consult a registered dietitian,” she said. “This is especially true for people who have one or more chronic diseases.”


Smoking, Alcohol Associated With Most Cancers in U.S

Smoking, Alcohol Associated With Most Cancers in U.SPreventable risk factors like smoking and alcohol are closely associated with 11 of the 15 cancers in the US, finds a study.

The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, finds that the cancer burden is 20 per cent to 30 per cent higher in African-Americans than in all races and ethnicities combined.

To measure cancer burden, researchers from the American Cancer Society calculated the disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) lost to cancer. This measure combines mortality, incidence, survival, and quality of life into a single summary indicator.

DALYs lost to cancer were mostly related to premature death due to the disease (91 per cent), and only 9 per cent related to impaired quality of life because of cancer or its treatment, or other disease-related issues.

Lung cancer was by far the largest contributor of the loss of healthy years to all-cancer, accounting for 24 per cent of the burden (2.4 million DALYs).

Next was breast (10 per cent) followed by colorectal (9 per cent), pancreatic (6 per cent), prostate (5 per cent), leukemia (4 per cent), liver (4 per cent), brain (3 per cent), non-Hodgkin lymphoma (3 per cent) and ovarian (3 per cent).

The four most-burdensome cancers (lung, breast, colorectal, and pancreas) caused about half of all DALYs.


Aamir Khan Travels to Bhutan to Advocate Against Malnutrition

Aamir Khan Travels to Bhutan to Advocate Against MalnutritionActor Aamir Khan, who is a Unicef Regional Goodwill Ambassador, took time out from his schedule to meet children affected by malnutrition here and to witness how the organisation is working to address stunting across the country.

“While Bhutan has made amazing progress in areas of health and nutrition, there’s still work to be done and every child is yet to be reached,” Aamir said in a statement.

Stunting, caused by chronic malnutrition, is endemic in South Asia with an estimated 38 per cent – 64 million – of children under five years of age affected by stunted growth, inhibiting children’s cognitive and physical development and damaging growth in the region. In Bhutan, despite recent progress, one in five children remains stunted, according to Unicef.

The Royal Government of Bhutan, Unicef and partners are working together to improve under-nutrition and micro-nutrient deficiency among children by working with families to improve sanitation practices in households and communities, and improve nutrition of young children and women before and during pregnancy.

Aamir, during his visit to Bhutan on Monday and Tuesday, met Namgay Zam, 26, in the Drukgyel Basic Health Unit in Paro, who had given birth to her baby just 20 days ago. He also interacted with other women and their children at the health unit.

“It is incredible to meet young mothers in Bhutan and to understand how they have made simple, effective changes to their lives to help keep their children healthy,” said the “PK” star.

Rudolf Schwenk, Unicef Bhutan Representative, also said: “We are delighted that Aamir Khan is here in Bhutan to help us shine a light on the impact of under-nutrition and to show how by working together we can reduce stunting in children across the country.”


Girls Can Cut Poverty in Developing Economies: UN

Girls Can Cut Poverty in Developing Economies: UNDeveloping economies stand to win an extra $21 billion (19 billion euros) if they improve girls’ health and sex education, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said Thursday.

Girls in developing countries are less likely than boys to complete schooling because of forced marriage, child labour and female genital mutilation, risking the opportunities presented by their largely young populations, said the study, launched in London.

“Over the next 15 years alone, developing countries together stand to gain or forfeit at least $21 billion, depending on whether or not they invest in the well-being, education, and independence of their 10-year-old girls today,” it said.

“When the right policies and institutions are in place to build young people’s human capital, a developing country can see dramatic economic growth… leading to a demographic dividend, a unique opportunity for economic progress and poverty reduction”.

Girls are currently less likely to be enrolled in secondary education in Arab countries and most of Africa -— home to 70 per cent of the world’s 10-year-olds today.

Sixteen million girls aged between six and 11 will never start school — twice the number of boys.

“For 10-year-old girls, a potential tripling of their lifetime income is at stake. For the societies the girls are a part of, the reduction of poverty is at stake,” said the report.

Many girls fail to finish their education after getting married in early adolescence, and UNFPA urged countries to impose a minimum age of marriage of 18.

Every day, an estimated 47,700 girls get married before that age, they said.

Comprehensive sexuality education programmes should also be expanded to 10-year-old girls in order to protect their health and take control of their own fertility, it advised.

“Many girls may not have a safe forum in which to ask questions about these topics, which in many communities are still considered taboo,” it said.

“Access to contraceptives for adolescents and women of childbearing age is crucial.”
The study gave India and China as examples of the progress possible if developing countries harnessed their youthful populations.

Such booms can lead to increased labour force participation, increased earnings, increased longevity and smaller families, but will only materialise with swift action, warned the study.