Poorest UK children have worse health and education outcomes as teenagers, new study finds

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According to a new report led by University College London (UCL) researchers.

The study, published in The Lancet Public Health, used data from the Millennium Cohort Study, a major study of more than 15,000 children born after the new millennium (September 2000-January 2002) who are now in their early around twenty.

The researchers collected data on five adverse health and social problems in 17-year-old adolescents that are known to limit life chances: academic achievement, smoking, poor health, obesity, and psychological distress.

The most disadvantaged children between the ages of 0 and 5 were four and a half times more likely to do worse in school at age 17 than those in the highest income group. They were also 3.5 times more likely to start smoking.

People born in the lowest income quintile were also more likely to have a harmful cluster of vulnerabilities at age 17 and were 12 times more likely to experience all or all but one of the five negative health and social effects examined. by researchers, compared to those born in the highest income quintile.

However, moving families with children from the poorest income quintile to the next poorest group would result in only a modest reduction in the clustering of adolescents’ multiple difficulties (4.9% according to the scenario model).

Therefore, researchers advocate for coordinated action on childhood disadvantage in health, education, social welfare and other public services, across the social spectrum.

The researchers suggest that policy makers should, at a minimum, aim to prevent absolute childhood poverty, characterized today by widespread food and energy poverty. They argue that this is a necessary but insufficient step without a concerted effort to provide coordinated public services to disadvantaged communities.

Professor Eric Brunner (UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Health) said: “Almost a third of children in the UK were living below the poverty line in 2019-20, as housing costs and child poverty continued to rise. The implications for future health inequalities (in diabetes, heart attacks, cancer, and multimorbidity) are evident in stark terms in the Millennium Cohort experience. The social fragmentation on the scale we see today is by no means a good plan.

Professor Richard Cookson (Centre for Health Economics, University of York), said: “To improve life chances, reduce inequalities and unlock human potential, the UK government must find imaginative ways to bring support for the preschool population in all social sectors. spectrum – not only through the tax and benefit system, but also through the coordinated delivery of public services across organizations, as well as employment and housing reform.

The research was carried out by academics from UCL, York, LSE and Leeds as part of the ActEarly programme.

More information: Clustering of adverse health and educational outcomes in adolescence as a result of early childhood disadvantage: a retrospective population-based cohort study in the UK, The Lancet Public Health (2023). On medRxiv: …

Provided by University College London

Citation: The poorest British children have worse health and education outcomes in adolescence, according to new research (2023, March 23) retrieved March 23, 2023 from news/2023-03-poorest-uk-children-worse-health.html

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