India has the highest adolescent population and the real challenge is to provide health, nutrition and education in this segment, specifically for girls, according to a UNICEF report. “Adolescence: Age of Opportunities” report focus on nutrition, educational conditions and health of Indian adolescents.
Lawmaker Naveen Jindal- Representative of UNICEF India said that rapid economic growth in the past two decades has helped better the condition of adolescents in India. He continues saying that despite the improved scenario, partiality between girls and boys still present. The major health problem among Indian female adolescents is Anemia. "We have seen that parents, they try to feed the boys better, than the girl, which must change. Adolescent girls in India are the most vulnerable. About 56 per cent girls in India in the age group of 15-19 are anemic” said by Jindal.
Karin Hulshof, UNICEF India Representative, said: “The available data shows that maximum adolescence today, do not get to enjoy or have access to quality education, basic sexual reproductive health care, support for mental health issue and disability and protection from violence, abuse and exploitation and a forum for their participation. Worldwide, one third of all new HIV cases involve young people between the ages of 15-24. The risk of HIV is considerably higher amongst the adolescent females and young women than adolescent males and young men," he added. “Girls were the core source of India's growth, therefore their progress needs to be given importance” said D.K Sikri, Ministry of Women and Child Development Secretary.