UK Childrens' Asthma Worse Than Other European Countries
20th February 2019
asthmaNew research indicates British children are more at risk of dying because of asthma than anywhere else across Europe. The research has been laid bare in a report published by the Nuffield Trust and the Association for Young People's Health (AYPH). A study of 10-to-24 year olds in 19 countries showed youngsters in the UK are nearly twice as likely to die from asthma compared to those in Ireland, which has the second worst childhood asthma death rate. Around one in one million youngsters die from asthma in Ireland, but the figure for Britain is far more concerning – one in every 400,000. The researchers believe one key problem a sparse number of school nurses being available for younger asthmatics that are not fully aware how best to control their asthma. Others blame the increasing difficulty in actually getting an appointment with your own GP appointment, as well as 'complacency' around a lung condition that is very common indeed. Asthma UK statistics show that one in every 11 children and one in every 12 adults in Britain has asthma. Meanwhile, in the US, 8.3% of both children and adults have asthma, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “There are some 32,000 schools in Britain but only around 1,500 school nurses which is alarmingly low,” Ann Hagell commented from AYPH. “When I was at school there was always a nurse on hand if you were sick but cuts to health budgets have seen them disappear. “They simply aren't there to help children learn how to look after themselves properly, particularly as they move towards adulthood and their parent are less involved in their healthcare.” Dr Samantha Walker, director of research and policy at Asthma UK, said the findings were 'appalling'. “Lack of basic asthma care, difficulty in getting a GP appointment and complacency around asthma could all be to blame,” she said. The authors of the research are concerned that efforts to properly tackle asthma have slowed in recent times, especially with these latest findings. Nuffield Trust's chief executive Nigel Edwards said: “Making sure we have a healthy population requires us all to do our bit. “More than ever, young people are holding up their side of the bargain, with more of them choosing to smoke and drink less, yet our health system seems to be getting something badly wrong. “I worry this reflects a dangerous complacency. “Young people in the UK are entering adulthood with more long-term health conditions and, as a result, a poorer quality of life, storing up problems further down the line. “If we don't take action now, the next generation will be entering adulthood sicker than the one before it.” Those behind the compilation of the report looked at information spanning from the mid-1990s to 2018, finding which data could be directly compared with other countries. The report demonstrated how young people's overall health in the UK is falling behind rest of Europe in other ways. With regards to our youngsters’ waistlines, British 15 to 19-year-olds are more likely to be obese than those in 14 other countries, including Italy, France, Belgium, Spain, Greece and Germany. Louise Meincke, head of policy and public affairs at the World Cancer Research Fund, said: “These devastating figures further highlight we urgently need to do more, as a society, to protect our children's health. “Children who are obese are more likely to be obese as adults, and this increases their risk of 12 different cancers and other life-threatening conditions. “We want governments to introduce better policies that encourage healthy environments, including physical activity, for young people from all backgrounds to give them the best start in life.”