Breast age and childhood (0-9 years)
Inferiority, fetal asphyxiation at birth and infection are the main causes of death during the first month of life. Causes of death in infancy and childhood are the same for both sexes.
However, in some cultures, gender-based discrimination makes girls vulnerable due to the threat of sex-based abortion and female infanticide.
It is estimated that 18% of girls are sexually abused at some point in their childhood, compared to 8% of boys.
In some countries, girls have limited access to vaccines, health care and adequate nutrition compared to boys. Preference of male children may result in shorter periods of exclusive breastfeeding for girls.
Adolescence (10-19 years)
In adolescence, gender differences become more evident and norms based on gender differences begin to emerge. The main causes of death of all teenagers in the world are traffic accidents, self-harming and drowning.
The main causes of death of teenage girls (15-19 years) are pregnancy and childbirth conditions, self-harming, road injuries, diarrheal diseases and lower respiratory tract infections. Depressive self-harming and suicidal disorders are the main causes of poor health in adolescent girls.
Adolescent girls are at increased risk of sexual violence and also experience harmful practices such as child marriage and female genital mutilation.
Most girls become sexually active during adolescence. They are often forced or coerced into having sex and other forms of gender-based violence.
Every year, about 15 million girls marry before age 18. Child marriage has serious consequences for girls in terms of educational opportunities for them and their children.
Every year about 16 million girls aged 15-19 and about 1 million girls under 15 give birth, mostly in low- and middle-income countries. It is estimated that there are 3 million unsafe abortions among girls in this age group every year.
Globally, adolescent girls and young women account for two in every three new HIV infections.
Iron deficiency anaemia accounts for a significant proportion of the Disability-adjusted Life Years (DALY) among adolescent girls.
Nutrition problems in childhood and adolescence are increasingly associated with overweight and obesity, which are associated with an increased risk of premature death and disability in adulthood.
Nutritional disorders are most common among adolescent girls. Nervous anorexia is the most common eating disorder and mental disorder with high mortality.
Teenage girls are increasingly using tobacco, alcohol, and other psychoactive substances, which threatens their health during this period and later in life, as well as the health of their children.