Research Project

Health Status of Youth in Urban India

Research Area : Health Services and Financing

Every fifth person in India is a youth, and one-third of this population live in urban areas making it key demographic cohort. This study tries to provide an overview of the health of the urban youth in India and looking at key health issues related to the rapidly changing profile of the urban youth. It attempts to overview health by focusing on certain key emerging areas. The study was part of the larger study State of the Urban Youth India by the IRIS Knowledge Foundation and UN-HABITAT which is a first attempt to pull together data and knowledge base on and of youth in urban India.

Key Findings:

  • While today’s urban youth are healthier and better educated than earlier generations, but young people still face significant risks related to health and many lack the knowledge and power to make informed positive health choices.
  • Policies and programmes for the youth misjudge them as a monolith without and hence understanding the diversity within youth through research can enable policy-makers meet their health requirements.
  • There is a need to engage young people in the process both directly and through social media making the health programmes more relevant and allowing them to identify the health concerns and also working towards finding solutions to them.
  • The major thrust on sexual health with the prism of population control and prevention of infections has to change with a more pragmatic approach of promoting safe choices with informed decision-making and creating an environment of open non discussion.
  • Reproductive health should involve the entire process from conception to post-natal care keeping in mind social contexts, gender-bias, power-imbalances, limited knowledge of risks, lack of access to health-care facilities, shortage of trained persons and poor nutrition intake to come up with context-specific programmes.
  • Mental health is still to receive adequate attention even with high numbers of youth reporting symptoms of mental health disorders and the extremely high-levels of stress and depression.
  • Substance-abuse is another area that is a concern within youth health which requires early education and sensitization with measures for rehabilitation in order to reduce the incidence of addiction.
  • Enforcing laws to prevent accidental and occupational deaths and the health consequences of violence both in and outside the home also needs to be looked into while addressing the over-all good health of the youth.


  • Siddarth David
  • Sana Contractor

Period of Project: January 2013

Supported by: IRIS Knowledge Foundation and UN-Habitat

Project Publications