1. Home
  2.  » 
  3. Key Data
  4.  » 
  5. Physical health conditions
  6.  » Physical disability


Physical health conditions

Although the years 10-24 tend to be a time of good physical health, many young people will experience a range of short term physical health problems.  A significant minority will have long-term chronic conditions or some kind of disability.

Young people aged 16-20 are the group most likely to be diagnosed with asthma

Physical disability

The UK Equality Act 2010 defines disability as a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term (usually one year) negative effect on a person’s ability to do normal daily activities. Disability might include some of the conditions covered above such as arthritis and cancer, or other conditions including HIV, chromosomal and gene problems (for example, Down’s Syndrome, cystic fibrosis, haemophilia and spina bifida), or loss of physiological and psychological functions such as mobility, sight, hearing and learning capacity. Disability can result in social, economic or environmental barriers restricting full and equal participation in society.

Chart 4.16 shows the rates of disability by this definition, by five year age bands up to age 24, drawing on data from the most recent UK Family Resources Survey. Between the ages of 10 and 24, on average 11.5% of young people meet the definition.

On average, 11.5% of young people 10-24 have a disability according to the Equality Act 2010

For children the most common types of impairment reported were social/behavioural, learning, mental health, stamina/breathing/fatigue, ‘other’ categories, and mobility (Department for Work and Pensions, 2020).

Estimates vary in different surveys depending on the definition of disability used and the age bandings employed in the study. For example in the ONS (2020) wellbeing survey 15.6% of 15-24 year olds self reported that they had a disability.

All data correct as of 1st November 2021