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Youth unemployment: a ‘time bomb’ of poor health

by on October 31, 2013

As reported here, the World Health Organisation has described youth unemployment in the UK and throughout Europe as a “public health time bomb waiting to explode”. The warning reflects the findings of a two-year study led by the public health expert Professor Sir Michael Marmot. The review was carried out by the World Health Organisation and the University College London Institute of Health Equity.

In texts which talk about a ‘lost generation’ defined through its experience of youth unemployment, we often see reference to the scarring effect of joblessness. Being unemployed has immediate health consequences, including an increased risk of depression and suicides.

A further aspect is that poverty is associated both with high unemployment and with a higher likelihood of poor diet, smoking and long-term health problems like obesity. Thus being out of work in the longer term increases the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease and stroke.

Consequently poor health at such a crucial time of life was saving up problems for later.

Though arguably there is never a good time in life to be unemployed.

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