11-30 year olds in France are in good health overall. This is what the young people themselves claim, according to the public survey on youth health, Health behaviour of young people. Analyses of the 2010 Health Survey (Les comportements de santé des jeunes. Analyses du Baromètre santé 2010_latest survey dedicated to the health of young people specially).
But although this population considers itself to be in good physical and mental health, young people's health is still a concern for the public authorities, not least because adolescence and young adulthood are a pivotal time when physiological and mental changes are taking place and new behaviours and practices are taking hold – including at-risk ones that are likely to become difficult to shake off.
A range of stakeholders are involved in public youth health policies in France (such as national and local public authorities, professionals in the health, education and social action spheres, associations aimed at combating social exclusion and youth-oriented centres), which usually form part of comprehensive public health policies but address issues that are specific to young people.
Mental health, preventing addictive behaviours, sexual health and accessing rights to health are the public authorities' main fields of action in terms of youth health.
Increasing the well-being of all young people and reducing health inequalities between them, fostering access to rights to health and improving prevention policies, when French public health policies have tended until now to give precedence to the curative approach, are all examples of challenges to which the national authorities and other youth advocates need to find answers.