The global trend towards smaller families is a reflection of people making reproductive choices to have as few or as many children as they want, when they want.
Every day in developing countries, 20,000 girls below age 18 give birth. Nine in 10 of these births occur within marriage or a union. This has consequences on the health, education, employment and rights of an untold millions of girls.
Although the countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia are not affected to the same extent as other world regions, adolescent pregnancy is a major challenge in parts of the region, and in particular among some population groups.
The document summarizes priority areas for WHO action based on global evidence. Improving the health and development of children and adolescents means that WHO will need to shape its implementation of the strategy to the epidemiological needs of specific regions and countries.