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State of Child Health short report. Child health in 2030 in England: comparisons with other wealthy countries

The health of today’s children and young people (CYP) will be one of the key factors in determining whether England is healthy and prosperous over the next 50 years.

We used long-term historical data on key CYP health outcomes and various projection modelling methods to estimate CYP outcomes in 2030 in England compared with other wealthy European and western countries. Our comparison group was the EU15+, consisting of the 15 countries of the EU in 2004 plus Australia, Canada and Norway. Our projections of likely outcomes in 2030 are based upon the assumption that recent trends will continue for the next decade in both England/the UK and, on average, across the EU15+. This assumption is a limitation but one that is common to all forecasting.

Data presented here lead us to two particularly concerning conclusions.

First, England/the UK currently have poorer health outcomes than the average across the EU15+ in most areas studied, and the rate of improvement in England/the UK for many outcomes is lower than across the EU15+. This means that unless current trends improve, England is likely to fall further behind other wealthy countries over the next decade.

Second, the marked inequalities observed in most key outcomes are likely to widen over the next decade as problems in areas such as infant mortality and obesity are worsening more quickly amongst the most deprived section of the population.

Children and young people (CYP) aged 0-19 years made up 24% of the population of England in 2016. Numbers of CYP in England will increase to 13.8 million by 2030, an increase of around 5% over the next decade. This means that we will continue to have a large CYP population with poor health outcomes unless major changes occur.