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Population size and mortality

Children and young people aged 10-24 account for 18% of the whole population of the UK.  The most common causes of death include accidents, self-harm and assault, and cancer.

11.8m young people in the UK between 10-24

Overall burden of disease

‘Burden of disease’ was a construct developed in the 1990s to summarise how populations suffer from death and poor quality of life caused by ill health.  It is widely used by the World Health Organisation to describe the overall impact of various diseases on human life.  It is usually represented by a Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALY) score, which gives the years lost to disability for every 100,000 healthy years lived by people.  DALY scores indicate the difference between a situation where everyone lives to a good age in perfect health, and what happens in reality.  DALYs can be used to illustrate the impact on a population of one disease, such as cancer, or all diseases combined (Hagell and Cheung, 2019).

Analysis of the Global Burden of Disease study (Global Health Data Exchange, 2021) has estimated that the average DALYs lost to any cause per 100,000 healthy life years in 2016 were 6085 for 10-14 year olds, 10044 for 15-19 year olds, and 12692 for 20-24 year olds (Hagell and Shah, 2019).

Also using the Global Burden of Disease study, Ward et al (2021) presented a comprehensive update of global mortality in young people aged 10–24 years. This showed that the main causes of death in the age group are transport injuries, self-harm, non-communicable disease, unintentional injuries and interpersonal violence and conflict.

All data correct as at 1 November 2021