Young People in the UK ‘More Likely to Die’ From Asthma

A report from the Nuffield Trust and the Association for Young People’s Health has found that young people in the UK are more likely to die from asthma and suffer further serious health conditions than those in other European nations.

The study looked at 17 measures of health and wellbeing for 10 to 24-year-olds in 19 high-income countries that included Germany, France and Italy, as well as Japan, the US and Australia.

It found that while young people in the UK are making some healthier choices, such as drinking less alcohol, more are entering adulthood with long-term health conditions. In fact, the UK was shown to be behind other countries in a number of health indicators, with young people more likely to be obese, suffer poverty and have a longstanding illness.

An epidemic

According to the data, which spanned from the mid-1990s to 2016, the UK is one of the worst countries for young people to suffer from years lost to ill-health and the burden of their diseases.

Nearly one in five young people in the UK were found to be living with a longstanding health condition such as Type 2 diabetes—this figure has increased from 13.5 percent in 2008 to 18 percent in 2016.

The UK also had the highest obesity rates for 15 to 19-year-olds among all 14 European nations, and children and young people in the UK were found to be far more likely to be obese if they are poor. The study found that the UK had some of the highest inequalities between the richest and poorest in terms of the proportion of people that are obese.

The report said: ‘Despite living in the world’s fifth largest economy, young people aged 20 to 24 in the UK are experiencing one of the highest rates of severe material deprivation among the countries in our international comparison.

‘Reducing poverty among young people is key to improving their health outcomes in the UK.’

See Also: Millions Of UK Families Unable To Afford A Healthy, Balanced Diet

Analysing asthma

The report also revealed that death rates for asthma in those aged 10 to 24 were the highest out of all European nations.

Asthma mortality rate in the UK is approximately twice as high as that of the next worst country in Europe, and improvements have started to stall in recent years.

Asthma UK described the situation as ‘appalling’, noting that its research has previously found that millennials get the worse asthma care of any age group.

‘We are now urging the NHS to move with the times and put technology at the heart of asthma management, helping to engage this tech-savvy generation,’ said Dr Samantha Walker, director of research and policy at the charity.

Overall, the UK sits in the bottom third of countries in nine out of 17 indicators, and in the top third in three.

‘If we don’t take action now, the next generation will be entering adulthood sicker than the one before it,’ said Nigel Edwards, chief executive of the Nuffield Trust.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokeswoman said: ‘We have world-leading plans in place to safeguard child health by combating obesity, improving mental health and vaccinating against some of the world’s deadliest diseases.

‘Prevention is at the heart of the NHS Long Term Plan, and as part of this we are increasing funding by an average 3.4 percent per year, meaning that by 2023-24 it will receive £20.5bn a year more than it currently does.’

See also:

Type 2 Diabetes Affects 7,000 Young Britons

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