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Plenary session II: The implications of the economic and financial crisis on youth health Professor Candace Currie Child and Adolescent Health Research.

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Presentation on theme: "Plenary session II: The implications of the economic and financial crisis on youth health Professor Candace Currie Child and Adolescent Health Research."— Presentation transcript:

1 Plenary session II: The implications of the economic and financial crisis on youth health Professor Candace Currie Child and Adolescent Health Research Unit HBSC International Coordinating Centre University of Edinburgh Conference on the Health of Young People: be healthy, be yourself July 9-10, 2009

2 Impact of socioeconomic inequalities on young people’s health Recent WHO reports provide scientific basis for our understanding of effects of family affluence and young people’s economic circumstances on their health and well-being

3 Evidence base for socioeconomic inequalities among young people HBSC Report: ‘Inequalities in Young People’s Health’ (Currie et al, 2008) finds that adolescent health, well-being, and health promoting behaviours are favoured for those young people growing up in more affluent family circumstances

4 Evidence base for socioeconomic inequalities among young people HBSC research has also found that the extent of inequality between and within countries impacts of health disparities: young people growing up in wealthier countries, and countries with less unequal distribution of family affluence report better health (Torsheim et al, 2006) large economic inequality at the national level is associated with an increased prevalence of exposure to bullying (Due et al, 2008)

5 Evidence base for socioeconomic inequalities among young people These HBSC findings about existing inequalities provide a strong argument that health inequalities among young people in Europe are likely to increase as a result of the financial and economic crisis The next HBSC survey which takes place in 2009/2010 will allow comparisons to be made of young people’s health wellbeing and behaviour pre- and post- financial crisis across EU states

6 ‘Snapshot of the Health of Young People in Europe’ Reports that processes and effects of economic hardship and deprivation include: social exclusion and lack of opportunity to engage in activities that promote or support health impacts of perceived low social and economic status on well-being direct effects of material deprivation and poverty on social and living conditions lack of social support to withstand and cope with hardship

7 Impacts of social and economic disadvantage on health of young people local and global economic conditions may affect the material resources that young people have access to direct impact on their aspirations and sense of achievement, which in turn may manifest in mental health outcomes

8 Family context young people still living at home are likely to experience a decline in material circumstances reduced purchasing power of families can have an effect on access to health promoting lifestyles including healthier food choices nutritional health and levels of physical activity are linked to overweight and obesity levels which are known to be inversely associated with family affluence

9 Cross-national disparities differential effect on the health and well-being of young people across countries in Europe may result from variation in extent of economic downturn this may result in increased levels of socioeconomic inequality both within and between countries

10 Transitions from school to work and from home to independent living changes in youth labour market will influence these transitions different welfare systems across Europe influence age of leaving home and economic crisis may impact on these systems with follow on effects on youth transitions

11 Access to health care economic crisis is likely to increase inequalities in access to health care and especially specialist services public spending on youth services may be particularly affected by the financial downturn if not considered to be a priority issue

12 Views of young people views of young people on wide ranging issues that affect their welfare and well- being are crucial to understand and listen to young people’s needs, hopes and aspirations must inform development of policies that can protect and promote the health of youth in these challenging economic times

13 References Barnekow V, Currie C, Letsch C, de Looze M and Morgan A (2009) A Snapshot of the Health of Young People in Europe, WHO Copenhagen. Currie C. et al (eds) (2008) Inequalities in young people's health: international report from the HBSC 2006/06 survey. WHO Policy Series: Health policy for children and adolescents Issue 5, WHO Regional Office for Europe, Copenhagen. Due P, Merlo J, Harel-Fisch Y, Trab Damsgaard M, Holstein B, Hetland J, Currie C, Nic Gabhainn S, Gaspar de Matos M, Lynch J (2009) Socioeconomic inequality in exposure to bullying during adolescence: a comparative, cross-sectional, multilevel study in 35 countries. American Journal of Public Health, 99(5), DOI: /AJPH Torsheim T, Currie C, Boyce W & Samdal O (2006) Country material distribution and adolescents' perceived health: Multilevel study of adolescents in twenty-seven countries. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 60: DOI: /jech

14 Further information and contacts To find out more about the HBSC Study and its publications go to: or contact: To find out more about the Child and Adolescent Health Research Unit (CAHRU) and its research and publications go to: or contact:


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