David Buck introduces the key findings of our paper, Clustering of unhealthy behaviours over time: implications for policy and practice, examining the impact multiple lifestyles has on health and how four key risky behaviours – smoking, excessive drinking, poor diet and lack of exercise – cluster in the English population and how that is changing over time.
I particularly like the integrated healthcare model at the end of the document - joined up thinking!
A couple of omissions though - why is there not a copy of the Health Survey England questions within the document? It would be much easier to get a feel for how healthy lifestyle is defined if this was included, especially as my experience of public surveys is that they offer a rather narrow definition and don't allow sufficient space for open-ended definitions by citizens themselves.
Second - I'm not clear from this report the degree to which people with comorbidities have been able to participate in the survey. This is a huge issue particularly for elderly people of course. Perhaps I have missed how this has been accounted for ?
Someone born into a deprived inner city with limited access to good education and employment, poor access to healthy food and limited opportunities for physical activity has a very different menu of choices to someone born into a more affluent area.
The Marmot Review and the work of the Institute for Health Equity must form the framework for future public health approaches, tackling lifestyle without tackling the social determinants will only result in failure.
“Choice is meaningless without the opportunity to exercise it.”
I'd also appreciate if government includes in healthy lifestyles to aspire to (i.e., what government wants to do to reduce health care costs) opportunities for better employment, housing, arts and culture, and widened interests. And surprise, surprise, that also reduces governmental costs.