Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, responds to Public Health England’s Health Profile for England report.
“This increase in the number of people living to a ripe old age can be viewed as a public health success story. However, although populations are living longer, many of these additional years are not spent in good health or free from disability. Over 4 million (or 40 per cent) of people in the UK over the age of 65 have a limiting long term health condition. This includes diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease, cancer and dementia.
“Early intervention and prevention work by councils is vital to improve the public’s health. Not only does it reduce the risk of people having their lives shortened by conditions such as heart and liver disease, cancer, and Type 2 diabetes, but it also keeps the pressure off the NHS and adult social care.
“We know that those living in the most deprived communities experience poorer mental health, higher rates of smoking and greater levels of obesity than the more affluent. They spend more years in ill health and they die sooner. Reducing health inequalities is an economic and social challenge as well as a moral one.
“Councils with their public health responsibilities are on the frontline fighting obesity but for this to work effectively they need to be properly resourced. Public health funding has been reduced by £600 million from 2015/16 to 2019/20.
“We ask the Government to reverse reductions to councils’ public health budgets and give local authorities more funding to further this cost-effective work. Any extra funding for the NHS should also include public health funding for councils as the two are so intrinsically linked.”
Notes to editors
The LGA has previously warned of the risk of diabetes and obesity in children -
- Obesity crisis: 40 per cent increase in Type 2 diabetes in children
- 22,000 children severely obese when they leave primary school