THE government has been urged to overhaul policies across housing, transport and education to secure the future health of today's young people.

The Health Foundation charity has undertaken a two-year inquiry into the future health of youngsters and has published a range of recommendations from its findings.

The inquiry involved young people from Bradford, with the team visiting the area in June last year, as well as hundreds of others from across the UK.

Recommendations include calls for a consistent approach to discounted and free public transport for students, a review of the impact the current testing regime in schools has on mental health, plus significant reforms to the private rental sector.

The charity’s new report, 'A healthy foundation for the future', published today, concludes factors including a "fragmented approach" to spending and investment in young people across multiple government departments; a challenging housing market where more young people are living longer in poor quality, shorter term rental properties and priced out of long term homes; and a job market where young people struggle for secure rewarding work are putting the UK’s 12-24 year-olds at serious risk of ill health later in life.

Huma Malik, 25, from Bradford, took part in the inquiry’s research.

She said: “I think it’s very important to have young people involved in policy making especially if the policy is going affect them.

"It is key to have young people’s thoughts and views on proposals that might affect their lives, as you would with adults. Young people are very knowledgeable about their cities, opportunities and they can help to add a level that professional may miss from time to time.

"Young people are very keen on building a positive future for themselves so allowing them to help shape policies allows them to help shape their futures.

"Most importantly why it’s key to have young people help shape polices as things in the modern world are changing very quickly."

She added: "We could be creating the next generation to be a happy, successful, well supported community. We can create the next generation to be all the things above to show future generations how it’s done."

Jo Bibby, Director of Health at the Health Foundation, added: “Most people wouldn’t automatically think that housing, transport and education policies have much to do with people’s health.

"However, our inquiry has shown that getting these – and other areas of government policy – right for young people sets them on course for a healthy future.

"This is why we are recommending changes to ensure young people have somewhere to call home, rewarding work and supportive relationships with friends, families and communities.

“It is apparent that the arbitrary division of responsibilities between different sectors is letting young people down and jeopardising their long-term health. We must address these divisions and ensure there is a whole government approach to drive us towards a healthy future.”