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Improving health
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Naomi Eisenstadt has launched her second report to the Scottish Government as Independent Advisor on Poverty and Inequality, which focuses on the life chances of young people in Scotland. In the report, ‘Review of the Life Chances of Young People’ Ms Eisenstadt highlights the need to take a ‘life stage approach’ to tackling poverty. This is to ensure better life chances for all of our young people. Key to this approach, she says, are employment, housing and mental health. Speaking at the launch of the report, Ms Eisenstadt explained her approach. She said that whilst early years are important, they should not be treated like ‘inoculation…we need a second chance in adulthood too…and for many, being a successful grown up is about having a job and a house’.

As the national NHS Board tasked with reducing health inequalities and improving health, NHS Health Scotland welcomes this report. We are working for a Scotland in which all of our children and young people have a fairer share of the resources needed to live longer, healthier lives. We particularly welcome the ‘life stage approach’ and the recognition that factors like housing and employment matter too.

Pauline Craig, Head of Population Health at NHS Health Scotland said

“Despite the improving picture of childhood health, there remains significant inequality in young people’s experience of the wider social determinants of health, resulting in long term and enduring health inequalities. We understand that as a country, we need to take urgent action to help young people who are living in poverty now and to prevent future generations growing up in poverty. Children’s early life experiences and the social circumstances in which they live strongly influence their outcomes in later life. Therefore we must protect our young people and make sure that Scotland is the best place to grow up. But we welcome too the focus on support beyond the early years. Evidence shows that whilst we must do all we can to protect young people – after all prevention is better than cure – we must also ensure there is a more equal share of resources available throughout our lives. This includes good quality housing, employment that supports ‘good work’ and support for our mental health. NHS Health Scotland is working in these areas too. We look forward to using the recommendations in the report to inform our work and to supporting implementation of the report in whichever way we can.”

You can find out more about the work we do on our young people page.