Young people in the UK are more likely to die from asthma than those in other wealthy countries, a report by the Nuffield Trust has found.
Death rates for asthma in 10 to 24-year-olds was highest in the UK among all 14 European nations included in an analysis of 19 high-income countries. The UK also had the highest obesity rates for 15 to 19-year-olds among the European nations.
‘The crucial thing to note here is how important long-term health conditions are in the 10-24 age group,’ said Emma Rigby, Chief Executive at the Association for Young People’s Health. ‘We need more understanding of young people’s health needs, improved support for young people to understand and manage their own health, and we need to provide more youth friendly health services. This will help improve our standing internationally in terms of youth health outcomes.’
The UK sits in the bottom third of the comparative countries in nine out of 17 indicators, and in the top third in three. In four out of 17 indicators, trends over time have been getting worse, and in five areas previous improvements have stalled.
‘Making sure we have a healthy population requires us all to do our bit. More than ever, young people are holding up their side of the bargain, with more of them choosing to smoke and drink less, yet our health system seems to be getting something badly wrong. I worry this reflects a dangerous complacency,’ said Nigel Edwards, Chief Executive of the Nuffield Trust.
‘Young people in the UK are entering adulthood with more long-term health conditions and as a result a poorer quality of life, storing up problems further down the line. If we don’t take action now, the next generation will be entering adulthood sicker than the one before it.’