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FITNESS, HEALTH, WELLNESS

features

Letters: Write to reply

Fuel the debate about issues and opportunities across the industry. We’d love to hear from you – [email protected]

Published in Health Club Management 2023 issue 9
We need a focus on prevention to reverse stalling life expectancy trends / Photo: Shutterstock / Sabrina Bracher
We need a focus on prevention to reverse stalling life expectancy trends / Photo: Shutterstock / Sabrina Bracher
The nation’s health is central to society’s strength and growth. We should be demanding more from government

There was a moment in 2021, at the point the UK’s Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) was being launched, when focus was finally given to improving the nation’s health and reducing inequalities.

The then Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid, said: “By focusing on preventing and not just treating poor health, [OHID] will tackle health disparities to break the link between people’s background and their prospects for a healthy life.”


This was to be the moment the building blocks for good health would finally be considered across the whole of government; OHID would coordinate activity across Whitehall “to address the wider drivers of good health, from employment to housing, education and the environment”.

Ambitions have been diluted
Fast forward two years and this ambition is barely recognisable. A commitment to produce a standalone, cross-government health disparities white paper has been diluted beyond recognition. The agenda is now a minor feature in the major conditions strategy (www.hcmmag.com/majorconditions), a document rooted firmly in the Department of Health and Social Care and more specifically the NHS.

While the document lists primary prevention – tackling the root causes of ill health – as a priority, there are no substantive commitments likely to reverse stalling life expectancy trends or the gap that exists between different areas.

There’s only one new policy announcement in the prevention space and this is government consulting on adding pack inserts to tobacco products to encourage smokers to quit. This new policy is not enough to address the impact of risk factors such as obesity, smoking and alcohol consumption on people’s health.

The report is anchored in the role of clinical services and places too much focus on individual behaviour change and personalised prevention. This ignores broader evidence on the state’s crucial role in taking population-level action on risk factors and the wider determinants.

Lack of ambition
This lack of ambition should be a concern for us all. The nation’s health is central to society’s strength and growth.

Having commented on previous moments when the ambition was watered down, it has become increasingly difficult to find anything new to say or be surprised by the lack of ambition shown. Perhaps it’s unsurprising then that the external commentary around the strategy is quiet, reflecting a feeling that there is nothing to gain by making the same points – again – accepting that a government in its last year of a five-year term is unlikely to make bold, new moves.

But the point that communities are being left behind by a lack of ambition and leadership is one to continue making. There will be very little impact on life expectancy without a new approach that has strong political leadership at its core and manifestos for the next election will be the next realistic point for such a vision to be set out.

A lack of ambition should be a concern for us all. The nation’s health is central to society’s strength and growth. We should be demanding more from government.

photo: The Health Foundation

By Katherine Merrifield and Gwen Nightingale –  Job-share assistant directors, The Health Foundation Healthy Lives team

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2023/916844_269403.jpg
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features

Letters: Write to reply

Fuel the debate about issues and opportunities across the industry. We’d love to hear from you – [email protected]

Published in Health Club Management 2023 issue 9
We need a focus on prevention to reverse stalling life expectancy trends / Photo: Shutterstock / Sabrina Bracher
We need a focus on prevention to reverse stalling life expectancy trends / Photo: Shutterstock / Sabrina Bracher
The nation’s health is central to society’s strength and growth. We should be demanding more from government

There was a moment in 2021, at the point the UK’s Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) was being launched, when focus was finally given to improving the nation’s health and reducing inequalities.

The then Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid, said: “By focusing on preventing and not just treating poor health, [OHID] will tackle health disparities to break the link between people’s background and their prospects for a healthy life.”


This was to be the moment the building blocks for good health would finally be considered across the whole of government; OHID would coordinate activity across Whitehall “to address the wider drivers of good health, from employment to housing, education and the environment”.

Ambitions have been diluted
Fast forward two years and this ambition is barely recognisable. A commitment to produce a standalone, cross-government health disparities white paper has been diluted beyond recognition. The agenda is now a minor feature in the major conditions strategy (www.hcmmag.com/majorconditions), a document rooted firmly in the Department of Health and Social Care and more specifically the NHS.

While the document lists primary prevention – tackling the root causes of ill health – as a priority, there are no substantive commitments likely to reverse stalling life expectancy trends or the gap that exists between different areas.

There’s only one new policy announcement in the prevention space and this is government consulting on adding pack inserts to tobacco products to encourage smokers to quit. This new policy is not enough to address the impact of risk factors such as obesity, smoking and alcohol consumption on people’s health.

The report is anchored in the role of clinical services and places too much focus on individual behaviour change and personalised prevention. This ignores broader evidence on the state’s crucial role in taking population-level action on risk factors and the wider determinants.

Lack of ambition
This lack of ambition should be a concern for us all. The nation’s health is central to society’s strength and growth.

Having commented on previous moments when the ambition was watered down, it has become increasingly difficult to find anything new to say or be surprised by the lack of ambition shown. Perhaps it’s unsurprising then that the external commentary around the strategy is quiet, reflecting a feeling that there is nothing to gain by making the same points – again – accepting that a government in its last year of a five-year term is unlikely to make bold, new moves.

But the point that communities are being left behind by a lack of ambition and leadership is one to continue making. There will be very little impact on life expectancy without a new approach that has strong political leadership at its core and manifestos for the next election will be the next realistic point for such a vision to be set out.

A lack of ambition should be a concern for us all. The nation’s health is central to society’s strength and growth. We should be demanding more from government.

photo: The Health Foundation

By Katherine Merrifield and Gwen Nightingale –  Job-share assistant directors, The Health Foundation Healthy Lives team

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2023/916844_269403.jpg
Katherine Merrifield and Gwen Nightingale of The Health Foundation Healthy Lives team outline what we should be asking of the UK government.
Katherine Merrifield, Gwen Nightingale, The Health Foundation Healthy Lives team,Health inequalities, health improvement
Latest News
Orangetheory and Self Esteem Brands have revealed plans to merge 'as equals' to create a ...
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In the same week as tennis legend, Andre Agassi, was appointed to the board of ...
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According to a pilot study by Yale School of Medicine, exercise can not only slow ...
Latest News
Self Esteem Brands (SEB), owner of Anytime Fitness, has released year-end results which show year-on-year ...
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Basic-Fit has introduced a new approach to tackle gymtimidation and create an inclusive environment in ...
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Speaking exclusively in the current issue of HCM magazine, Third Space CEO, Colin Waggett, says ...
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Australian exercise and active health trade body, AUSactive, has partnered with the national Royal Life ...
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PerformX Live, the premier business of fitness event, has announced Dr Jonathan Leary, founder and CEO of Remedy Place, as the headliner for its 2024 event.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: seca TRU: Medical values for medical fitness
Developed for the world of medicine, tailored to the needs of modern fitness studios. The seca TRU seamlessly provides medical expertise for health-focused training with a clinically validated body composition analysis meeting the health and fitness industry's evolving demands.
Company profiles
Company profile: The Health and Fitness Institute
All fitness education providers currently out there are one and the same. They vary in ...
Company profiles
Company profile: TRP (powered by Fitronics)
Fitronics is the parent company of TRP, CoursePro and Member Experience Awards and is part ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Fisikal: Fast reactions
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Featured press releases
Precor UK press release: Precor launches new functional strength training line powered by BeaverFit
Precor, trusted fitness solution provider to more than 14,000 global facilities, has selected BeaverFit, the world’s largest supplier of fitness equipment to U.S. and NATO militaries, to design and manufacture their new functional training line.
Featured press releases
The Health & Fitness Institute press release: THFI Launches Wellness Coaching Qualification Aimed at NHS Relief and Economic Boost
Recent data from UK Active has revealed that a shocking 25% of the UK’s population is classed as ‘inactive,’ averaging less than 30 minutes of exercise a week.
Directory
Snowroom
TechnoAlpin SpA: Snowroom
Lockers
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Cryotherapy
salt therapy products
Saltability: salt therapy products
Property & Tenders
Loughton, IG10
Knight Frank
Property & Tenders
Grantham, Leicestershire
Belvoir Castle
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
11-14 Apr 2024
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
22-24 Apr 2024
Galgorm Resort, York,
Diary dates
30 May - 02 Jun 2024
Rimini Exhibition Center, Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
08-08 Jun 2024
Worldwide, Various,
Diary dates
11-13 Jun 2024
Raffles City Convention Centre, Singapore, Singapore
Diary dates
12-13 Jun 2024
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
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Diary dates
04-07 Nov 2024
In person, St Andrews, United Kingdom
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