Asthma

Asthma: Young People In The Uk ‘More Likely To Die’

Young people in the UK are more likely to die from asthma than those in other wealthy countries, a report 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 government said it had “world-leading plans” to safeguard child health.

Overall, the report found the UK to be lagging behind other nations across a number of health indicators.

The study, from the Nuffield Trust think tank and and the Association for Young People’s Health, analysed 17 measures of health and wellbeing for 10 to 24-year-olds in 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 and smoking less, more are entering adulthood with long-term health conditions.

Nearly one in five young people in the UK is estimated to be living with a longstanding health condition, such as type 2 diabetes, the report finds. In England, the figure has gone from 13.5% in 2008 to 18% in 2016.

‘Appalling’

The UK was also found to be one of the worst countries for young people to suffer from years lost to ill-health and the burden of their diseases, with only Australia, the US and New Zealand being worse.

Nigel Edwards, chief executive of the Nuffield Trust, said the study suggested health services in the UK were “getting something badly wrong”.

He said: “I worry this reflects a dangerous complacency.

“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.”

Asthma UK said it was “appalling” that people were more likely to die from asthma in the UK than in other European countries.

‘Greater understanding’

The charity said its research has previously found that millennials – typically those born between the early 1980s and mid-1990s – get the worse asthma care of any age group.

Dr Samantha Walker, director of research and policy at Asthma UK, said: “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.”

“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% per year, meaning that by 2023-24 it will receive £20.5bn a year more than it currently does.”