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The Key Data series has been running since 1997, providing nearly 25 years of information about young people’s lives. Previous editions have been hard copies or on-line PDFs; since 2021 we have presented it as a website.

Key Data collates publicly available data, extracting what we can find that is directly relevant to the 10-25 age group. The information is organised by topic. Click on different themes to get an overview, key findings and links to more information. You can also use the search function to find information on different topics.

We’re very interested in what you think of this as a resource, or any information you might have about additional data sources that might be relevant. Please do email us at any time with comments, suggestions and feedback.

Importance of youth health

The transition from childhood to adulthood is an important, fascinating period of life. Young people between the ages of 10 and 25 need particular support and youth friendly services. They have different patterns of need from younger children and older adults. The data tell us important things about the experiences of young people in the UK today and suggest ways in which we can improve outcomes.

Good health for young people is central to their wellbeing, and forms the bedrock for good health in later life.  There are a number of critical reasons for investing in young people’s health, including:

  • The first signs of many serious longterm conditions emerge at this age, including three quarters of lifetime mental health disorders
  • Adolescence is a time when risk taking behaviours begin and life-long health behaviours are set in place
  • Young people’s health is not improving enough compared to other age groups
  • Young people are not getting the health services or information they require, and their accounts are often less positive than those of other age groups
  • Health inequalities are widespread by the time of transition to adulthood, and some are widening
  • Positive trends in young people’s health, such as falls in teenage pregnancy and lower levels of smoking, must be supported in order to continue
  • Ignoring chronic adolescent disease costs money, and investing in adolescent wellbeing has benefits beyond just health outcomes
  • Effects of poor healthcare in adolescence can last a lifetime
  • Investment in adolescence maintains and reinforces successful health interventions delivered in early childhood.

The ‘Overview and policy implications’ paper contains more arguments for investing in youth health, together with supporting references