Intended for healthcare professionals


Child health unravelling in UK

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 05 March 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l963
  1. David C Taylor-Robinson, professor of public health and policy1,
  2. Eric T Lai, postdoctoral research fellow1,
  3. Margaret Whitehead, W H Duncan professor of public health1,
  4. Ben Barr, senior clinical lecturer in applied public health research 1
  1. 1Department of Public Health and Policy, Farr Institute@HeRC, Liverpool, UK
  1. Correspondence to: D C Taylor-Robinson dctr{at}

Poverty is a key driver of the UK’s dismal performance on child health

Last week yet another report highlighted the poor state of child health in the UK.1 The Nuffield Trust analysis, focusing on adolescent health, shows we compare poorly with other countries in terms of childhood long term conditions, obesity, asthma deaths, and young people not in education, employment, or training.

Other recent reports show we also lag behind in terms of health for babies and younger children.23 Mental health for children in the UK has been described as being “in crisis.”4 The Nuffield Trust report further shows that 11% of young people aged 15-19 years in the UK are living in severe material deprivation. This is the fourth highest rate in Europe, with a worsening trend over time. Material deprivation is judged on whether families can afford a decent meal every second day and to go on holiday, and whether they can cope with sudden unexpected financial expenses.1

Not only do we compare poorly with other countries, the situation seems to be getting worse for many child …

View Full Text

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription