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Health Inequalities

Health outcomes

In this section we provide a unique collection of data illustrating the differences that young people aged 10-24 can experience in their physical and mental health outcomes. 

In 2021 there was a 16.6% gap between obesity rates in 10/11 year olds in the least and most deprived areas

Sexual health, conception and births

Adolescence is period in which many young people experiment with sexual activity for the first time. As we have discussed in the section on levers, there are varying levels to which young people practice safe sex by using contraception. Where contraceptives are not used, young people are more at risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections or becoming pregnant.

Here we can see that young people living in more deprived areas are more likely to receive an STI diagnosis (HO6). Trends have been consistent over time, although there has been a sharp drop off in 2020 for both the most and least deprived groups, likely as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. We can also see a similar trend for chlamydia detection rates specifically (HO7), though the link is not as clear as it is for all other STI diagnoses.

Chart HO6: Young people in more deprived areas are more likely to have an STI diagnosis
Chart HO7: The link between chlamydia detection and deprivation is less clear

Young women in more deprived areas are more likely to become pregnant than those in the least deprived areas (Chart HO8 for England, and Chart HO9 for Scotland).

Chart HO8: Under 18 conception rates are higher in areas of deprivation in England
Chart HO9: Under 18 conception rates are higher in areas of deprivation in Scotland

A large proportion of mothers giving birth in their teens and 20s live in areas of higher deprivation. Chart HO10 shows that among mothers aged 20-24, for example, approximately a quarter live in areas of highest deprivation. Among mothers 10 years older, only 11% live in the areas of highest deprivation.

Chart HO10: Young women giving birth are more likely to be from deprived areas, but the same trend is not seen for older mothers

All data correct as of 1st May 2022