Age is continuous from birth until death. It is a broad equality area, which has implications for all people. Age equality is not just about eliminating discrimination: it means delivering equitable outcomes for people with different needs at different stages in life. Devon currently has a population of 758,100 (Office of National Statistics 2013 mid-year population estimates). The age structure varies by district with all areas except Exeter showing a lower proportion of 20-40 year olds compared to the England average. Exeter has a slightly younger population structure compared to England, with a significantly high proportion of 20-24 year olds due to students from Exeter University residing in the city. Overall Devon has a higher older population than nationally and this is the age range that is predicted to increase.

Health, Care and Wellbeing Needs

As figure 4.4 reveals health tends to deteriorate with age, with well over 90% of those aged under 30 stating that they were in very good or good health in the 2011 census, compared with 30% in the 85 and over age group.

Figure 4.4, Self-Reported General Health by Age, Devon, 2011

Figure 4.4 Self-Reported General Health 2011
Click to enlarge

Source: 2011 Census

Transitions between child and adult health and care services can also be a factor. It is important to note that the age of transition from ‘child’ to ‘adult’ status varies across services locally and nationally. Services for care leavers and persons with learning disabilities continue until the age of 25, whilst adult services for substance misuse start at age 19, and mental health at age 18. Whilst these transition ages align with national policy and practice, this staggered movement to adult services itself can be seen as a potential risk factor. Thresholds for service eligibility can vary between child and adult services as well meaning that in some cases support may be discontinued.

Table 4.2 sets out measures from the Public Health Outcomes Framework and the age groups most affected.

Table 4.2, Public Health Outcomes Framework indicators by age group most affected

Age GroupPublic Health Outcomes Indicator
Children and Young PeopleChildren in poverty, school readiness, pupil absence, youth justice system entrants, 16-18 year olds not in education employment or training, killed or seriously injured on road, low birth weight, breastfeeding, smoking at time of delivery, under 18 conceptions, excess weight in childhood, hospital admissions for unintentional and deliberate injuries, self-harm admissions, emotional wellbeing of looked after children, smoking at age 15, Chlamydia detection rate, population vaccination, infant mortality, tooth decay in children
Working Age AdultsLife expectancy gap, adults in stable accommodation (learning disability and mental health), mental health in prison, employment rate long-term condition, sickness absence, violent crime, re-offending levels, homelessness, excess weight in adults, physical activity in adults, smoking prevalence, successful completion of drug treatment, substance dependence in prison, recorded diabetes, alcohol-related admissions, NHS health check coverage and uptake, preventable mortality, under 75 death rates for cancer respiratory disease circulatory disease and liver disease, under 75 mortality for people with serious mental illness, suicide rate
Older PeopleLife expectancy at 65, fuel poverty, social isolation, older people’s perceptions of community safety, injuries due to falls, preventable sight loss, health-related quality of life for older people, hip fractures, excess winter deaths, dementia diagnosis rate
AllLife expectancy at Birth, healthy life expectancy at birth, domestic abuse, air pollution, noise complaints, utilisation of outdoor space, fruit and vegetable consumption, alcohol-related admissions, cancer diagnosed at an early stage, screening coverage, self-reported wellbeing, air pollution mortality, TB treatment and incidence, sustainable development and health protection plans, deaths from communicable diseases, emergency readmission rate

Source: Public Health Outcomes Framework, 2015

Further Information