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This is a slightly edited version of Chapter 6, the discussion of health inequalities policy, from the book Health Divides. The printed version is fully referenced. Previous chapters have explored the relationship between health and place across different scales showing consistent evidence of spatial inequalities in health within local areas, between the regions and countries of the UK, as well as within and between countries internationally. They have shown that the causes of geographical inequalities in health are complicated and multifaceted, a combination of compositional (people), contextual (environment) and ultimately political and economic factors. This chapter examines how public policy has […]
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In 1842, the English social reformer Edwin Chadwick documented a 30-year discrepancy between the life expectancy of men in the poorest social classes and the gentry. He also found a North-South health divide with people from all social classes faring better in the rural South than in the industrial North. Today, these inequalities persist.People in the most affluent areas of the United Kingdom, such as Kensington and Chelsea, can expect to live 14 years longer than that those in the poorest areas, such as Glasgow or Blackpool. Men and women in the North of England will, on average die two […]
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England would get knocked out in the quarter finals of Euro 2016 if the tournament was based on how healthy each nation is. Based on health statistics, Switzerland would walk away as European Champions for the first time in the competition’s history, narrowly beating Iceland on penalties in the final. Our analysis of differences in life expectancy for men in the 24 countries taking part in the forthcoming football tournament shows huge health divides across Europe and highlights the links between where you live and how long you live. The European Health Championship is an accessible way to shed light […]
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Clare Bambra and Ted Schrecker  A 2010 editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association warned: “If left unchecked, overweight and obesity have the potential to rival smoking as a public health problem, potentially reversing the net benefit that declining smoking rates have had on the US population over the last 50 years”.  Obesity increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD), certain types of cancer, Type 2 diabetes, and orthopaedic problems. At the end of the 1970s it was estimated that 15% of US adults were obese.  By 2012, this had more than doubled, to 35%.  Among adolescents […]
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“Some people believe football is a matter of life and death,” Bill Shankly, Liverpool FC’s manager between 1959 and 1974, once said. “I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that”. Now imagine the newspaper headlines if at the end of the football season three of the biggest English football clubs – Manchester City, Everton and Liverpool – were relegated from the league. If football were really a matter of life and death, this is exactly what would happen. We put together a public health league table which ranks the […]
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We are currently being told by the Coalition government that we are “all in it together” and that recession, austerity and cuts to welfare and the privatisation of the NHS are the necessary medicine to revitalise our broken country. This is a dangerous, neoliberal myth. We are not “all in it together” and there is clear evidence that austerity is bad for health and that health inequalities are beginning to increase. Since 2007, suicide rates have increased across England – but at a greater rate in the more deprived areas. Similarly, antidepressant prescription rates have risen, again with the highest […]
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As the 2010 Marmot Review (and before that the 2008 WHO report on Closing the Gap) makes clear, significant improvements in population level health, as well as reductions in health inequalities, require actions that tackle the social determinants of health. However, traditional public health policy has tended to focus on modifying individual lifestyles, rather than addressing the more fundamental causes. The suggestions so far put forward as the SHA’s submission to the Labour Party’s Public Health Policy review also largely focus on these downstream determinants. This review process is an ideal opportunity to put forward more upstream, social determinants based […]
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There has been much written in the media over the last year about the legacy of Thatcherism particularly in terms of reshaping the British political landscape. However, in scientific research published this week, we demonstrate the high cost paid in terms of health and wellbeing of Thatcherism’s economic and social policy. Our study, which looked at material from existing research papers as well as data from the UK Office for National Statistics, concludes that Thatcherism resulted in the unnecessary and unjust premature death of British citizens, together with a substantial and continuing burden of suffering and loss of wellbeing. Alcohol […]
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This article was first published by The Conversation and is reproduced by kind permission of the authors. In the UK today, there are sizeable inequalities in health – and sometimes that gap isn’t just about north versus south. In Stockton Tees in the north-east of England, for example, there’s a 15-year gap in life expectancy between the least and most deprived areas. In London, the gap between such areas is nearly 25 years; and there is a five-year gap between the 10 tube stops between Westminster and Canning Town on the Jubilee Line. Glasgow has an infamous 28-year gap in […]
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By Clare Bambra, Durham University and Alison Copeland, Durham University The north-south divide is a powerful trope within popular English culture and it’s also evident within the country’s health. A recent report by Public Health England showed that between 2009 and 2011, people in Manchester were more than twice as likely to die early (455 deaths per 100,000) compared to people living in Wokingham (200 deaths per 100,000). This sort of finding isn’t new; for the past four decades, the north of England has persistently had higher death rates than the south, and the gap has widened over time. People […]
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