Far more young people between the ages of 10 to 24 die in developing countries compared with wealthier ones as a result of infectious disease, violence and other causes, according to the World Health Organization as reported by MedPage Today.

According to the report, published in the September 12 edition of The Lancet, 97 percent of adolescent deaths in 2004 occurred in poor and middle-income countries. Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia account for two thirds of these deaths.

While HIV/AIDS, infectious diseases and pregnancy-related deaths in women were attributed to most adolescent mortality worldwide, other causes that are less often addressed by global health policymakers included traffic accidents, violence and suicide.

“Increases in mortality between early adolescence and young adulthood suggest major underlying shifts in health status that have so far attracted little attention from policymakers,” writes study coauthor George C. Patton, MD, of the Royal Children’s Hospital in Australia. “Present global priorities for adolescent health policy, which focus on HIV/AIDS and maternal mortality, are an important but insufficient response to prevent mortality in an age group in which more than two in five deaths are due to intentional injuries.”