The social determinants of young people’s health Identifying the key issues and assessing how young people are doing in the 2010s

June 2018

Rakhee Shah
Russell Viner
Dougal Hargreaves
Michelle Heys
Laura Varnes
Ann Hagell
Thumbnail

Key points

  • Adolescent disadvantage and certain adolescent health outcomes are linked. 
  • There are also links between experiences as a young person and adult outcomes, and between childhood health difficulties and adult health difficulties. 
  • There are health inequalities linked to all of the social determinants included in this report, but some of these relationships are stronger for certain outcomes, and some are weaker than for other age groups.

This paper provides an overview of evidence on the social determinants of young people’s health. 

Untangling social determinants and health outcomes for young people is complicated. There are important distinctions to be made between income, income inequality, educational achievements and other measures of disadvantage. Important issues include: how inequalities exist in adolescence and whether they narrow or widen at this stage of life. There is less data relating specifically to adolescence rather than adult age groups.

There are health inequalities linked to all of the social determinants included in this report, but some of these relationships are stronger for certain outcomes (including mortality, obesity and under 18 conceptions), and some are weaker than for other age groups (including risky health behaviours such as alcohol use).

Evidence for some kind of ‘equalisation’ in health inequalities in adolescence has been suggested, but evidence on this is equivocal. In addition, how social inequalities play into the transition into early adulthood has not received much attention.

Further reading

Quick guide

What makes us healthy?

March 2018

This guide explores how a person’s opportunity for health is influenced by factors outside the...

Learning report

Listening to our future

June 2018

The first report from the Young people's future health inquiry, sharing the learnings from our early...

You might also like...

Event

Webinar: What does the pandemic mean for the nation’s health and health inequalities?

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a huge impact on our society and economy but what are the...

Press release

The government's strategy is likely to be a missed opportunity to address the root causes of obesity

The Health Foundation response to the government's new obesity strategy.

Press release

Low income workers at greater risk of unemployment and mounting ill-health as furlough scheme unwinds

New analysis by the Health Foundation reveals that an economic crisis is likely to have unequal...

Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101 copy

Get social

Over 700,000 patients served by GPs at high risk of COVID-19 could be left without access to face to face GP appoin… https://t.co/wZJJPCuRCn

Follow us on Twitter
Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101

Work with us

We look for talented and passionate individuals as everyone at the Health Foundation has an important role to play.

View current vacancies
Artboard 101 copy 2

The Q community

Q is an initiative connecting people with improvement expertise across the UK.

Find out more