The new adolescence is 10 to 24 years
Adolescence has a new age bracket 10 to 24 years according to a recent report in Lancet Child and Adolescent Health.
The new definition was framed considering the changing patterns, both biologically and socially observed in children. Recent lifestyle changes over the past decade have hastened the onset of adolescence. Also, various social phases like completing education, marriage and parenthood are happening later in life only when the adolescents become youngsters and fully mature of their choices. These decisions are taken by the youth much later in life as compared to the scenario 10 years ago. They are also becoming more economically stable and well-off in the latter phases of their life.
Even though the child is entitled to a lot of rights and privileges since 18 years of age but the acceptance of social roles and responsibilities does not come at all at 18 years. The child starts realizing his ‘adulthood’ only after he has crossed the 20-year mark. The age of twenties brings in him much more maturity and sensibility and an excitement to explore the world, thus making them more aware and sound.
An expanded and all-inclusive definition for adolescence is much needed for the correct development of laws, policies and services concerning them, say the authors. A well developed framework can do much for the betterment of adolescence of today. Susan M. Sawyer from the Centre for Adolescent Health at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne, also the lead author of the study says that rather than the age of 10-14 years, a definition that includes 10-24 years corresponds more closely to the growth and development of adolescence. These additional years give a closer understanding of the activities of this life phase. Even physically, the child’s body is still in a developmental stage and is fully made by the time he is 24.
According to WHO, an adolescent is that individual aged between 10-14 years and the one between 15-24 years is categorised as youth. The new proposed definition of adolescence brings the youth subset into the adolescent set. The question that may arise after that amalgamation is that will adolescence new come under the purview of Pediatrics or Internal Medicine? If the new definition gains acceptance, this age will definitely not correspond to Paediatrics but will fall under Internal Medicine.