Disadvantaged young ‘a public health time bomb’

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The UK’s high level of young people not in employment, education or training (NEETs) – particularly the long-term unemployed – constitutes a ‘public health time bomb waiting to explode’, according to the chair of a major review of Europe-wide health inequalities, Sir Michael Marmot.

The World Health Organization and ICL Institute of Health Equality (IHE) review calls for action to address the immediate causes of inequity within and between countries, including alcohol consumption. ‘Effective strategies go beyond providing information and include taxation and regulation,’ says The review of social determinants and the health divide in the WHO European region.

‘We are failing too many of our children, women and young people on a grand scale,’ said Marmot. ‘I would say to any government that cares about the health of its population: look at the impact of their policies on the lives people are able to lead and, more importantly, at the impact on inequality. Health inequality, arising from social and economic in­equal­ities, are socially unjust, unnecessary, and avoidable, and it offends against the human right to health.’

Report available at www.euro.who.int