The social barriers to an active society are being ignored

The simplicity of exhorting people to “be more active” belies how complicated it can be to put this into practice. Increasing physical activity requires individuals to do things differently | The Conversation


Can individuals alone make the changes that are required? Public health campaigns imply that they can, focusing on how to live a healthier, more active life. But do the roots of inactivity really lie only in the behaviour, decisions and motivations of individuals? Or are there wider factors which need to be recognised and addressed?

Plenty of evidence suggests that external influences are also important, and there is mileage in ensuring that these elements are integrated into addressing individual behaviour.

Consider, for example, the challenge of raising physical activity levels among older people. This is a priority for public health given the predicted 89.3% increase in the numbers of older adults to 9.9m in the UK by 2039. According to Sport England, 54% of those aged 75 and above are doing less than 30 minutes of physical activity a week.

Full blog post here

Cultural Alignment & the Use of Incentives Can Promote a Culture of Health

This report focuses on two questions that are central to understanding how individuals and sectors think about health and are motivated to promote it | RAND


Image source: RAND

Research Questions:

  • How can the commonly understood concepts of cultural identity (e.g., ethnic or religious; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender plus; military) and organizational culture be harnessed to develop a Culture of Health?
  • How can incentives be used to promote individual health and engage investors and leaders within organizations or governments to promote health and well-being broadly?

Key Findings:

  • Establishing health as a shared value is an important but challenging step in promoting health and well-being.
  • The importance of both individual and community health and well-being needs to be acknowledged.
  • Data can support the development of shared values.
  • Stakeholders spoke of equity as requiring integration, collaboration, and thinking about health equity from a broader perspective than just health or resolving health disparities.
  • Equity is often addressed in silos, which impedes progress toward a unified goal of health equity for all.
  • Structural inequity among organizations serving different communities can pose a barrier to progress.
  • Addressing equity takes time and effort.

Read the full overview here

The full report is available here

Interventions for single parents should also recognise the needs of lone fathers

Chiu, M. et al. (2017) Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. 71(5) pp. 417-423


Background: Lone parenthood is associated with poorer health; however, the vast majority of previous studies have examined lone mothers and only a few have focused on lone fathers. We aimed to examine the self-rated health and mental health status among a large population-based cross-sectional sample of Canadian lone fathers compared with both partnered fathers and lone mothers.

Conclusions: In this large population-based study, lone fathers had worse self-rated health and mental health than partnered fathers and similarly poor self-rated health and mental health as lone mothers. Interventions, supports and social policies designed for single parents should also recognise the needs of lone fathers.

Read the full article here

Health and Care of People with Learning Disabilities

The report identifies potential differences in the treatment, health status, and outcomes of people with learning disabilities compared with the rest of the population | NHS Digital


It includes information on the percentage of patients known to their GP as having a learning disability who received an annual learning disability health check.

The report includes information on the percentage of eligible patients with a learning disability who had a flu immunisation or screening in 2014-15 and 2015-16 for:LD2

  • Breast cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Colorectal cancer

In addition to this, there is information on the life expectancy of people with learning disabilities, and the number of deaths in comparison with the same age and sex specific mortality rate as the general population in the same period.

The full interactive report is available here


Public health implications of four decades of neoliberal policy

Garnham, L.M. Journal of Public Health. Published online: 2 March 2017


Background: The UK has long had a strong commitment to neoliberal policy, the risks of which for population health are well researched. Within Europe, Scotland demonstrates especially poor health outcomes, much of which is driven by high levels of deprivation, wide inequalities and the persistent impacts of deindustrialisation. The processes through which neoliberalism has contributed to this poor health record are the subject of significant research interest


Conclusions: In formerly industrial parts of west central Scotland, policy developments since the 1970s have generated multiple and sustained forms of deprivation. This case study suggests that a turn away from neoliberal policy is required to improve quality of life and health

Read the full abstract here

Burning Injustice: Reducing tobacco-driven harm and inequality

Recommendations to the government, local authorities and the NHS | All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health


Image source: APPGSH

The APPGSH launched this inquiry to review current action on tobacco control in response to concerns that funding is being reduced or not used effectively for work on tobacco control. The report provides evidence-based recommendations to the government, local authorities and the NHS for effective action to further reduce smoking prevalence at a time of austerity.

Read the full report here

UK child health near bottom in Europe

An alarming gap between rich and poor is jeopardising UK children’s health. | Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) | OnMedica 

A report by  report by the RCPCH has revealed that despite some improvements in the health of UK children over past decades, the UK has one of the highest rates of child mortality in western Europe. The BMA said the UK is failing many of its children, who should not be paying with their health for the economic downturn.

The RCPCH reported in The State of Child Health that almost one in five children in the UK is living in poverty, and that inequality is blighting their lives – deprivation is strongly associated with higher levels of child mortality, child obesity and smoking during pregnancy, and with lower rates of breastfeeding. The College report showed that:

  • The UK ranks 15 out of 19 western European countries on infant mortality; infant mortality is more than twice as high in the lowest socio-economic groups as in the highest.
  • The prevalence of smoking during pregnancy in the UK is much higher than in many European countries and strongly associated with deprivation. In Scotland, 25.9% of women in the most deprived areas acknowledged smoking following the birth of their baby, against 3.3% in the least deprived areas. Child smoking is also much more prevalent among children from the most deprived areas.
  • Breastfeeding rates in England and Scotland have barely improved since records began in 1975, and not at all in the past five years; they are lower than in many other comparable high-income countries. Across the UK, 46% of mothers in the most deprived areas breastfed compared with 65% in the most affluent areas.
  • Across England, Scotland and Wales more than one in five children in the first year of primary school are overweight or obese. In 2015-16, 40% of children in England’s most deprived areas were overweight or obese, compared with 27% in the most affluent areas.