Health inequalities are the avoidable and unfair differences in physical and mental health outcomes between individuals or groups aged 10-25.
Young people from different backgrounds and with different lived experiences can have different physical and mental health outcomes – these are “health inequalities”. Research has shown a clear link between income, housing, education, employment and the other factors of people’s wider lives, and poorer health outcomes. Adolescence is a defining period for young people’s health, when inequalities between individuals and groups can become established and embedded. These health inequalities have been brought into sharp focus during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Differences caused by these social factors are unfair and preventable. We need to know more about health inequalities experienced by young people in their teens and early adulthood, including how they occur and how we can intervene.
In drawing together publicly available data on inequalities in health outcomes for 10-24 year olds we highlight the extent of the problem and the need for prevention and early intervention.