Loneliness is increasingly being prioritised as a public health issue, due to its strong links to illness and premature mortality. Our new article published in Preventive Medicine (open access version here) highlights that older people’s loneliness varies according to their level of wealth: those with the least experience more loneliness than the wealthiest. We found that taking part in formal social activities, such as attending a sport or social club, may help to reduce the gap in loneliness between the poorest and richest older people, especially among men. But wealthier people are on the whole more likely to participate in such activities.
In our latest paper published in Social Science and Medicine we critique the way ‘impact’ is measured within the UK’s Research Excellence Framework* (REF) and in doing so we propose an alternative measurement, one based on enlightenment and process rather than outcomes.
New research published this week in BMC Public Health by the CRESH team, and colleagues in Global Public Health, has found that Scotland’s most deprived neighbourhoods have the highest availability of both tobacco and alcohol outlets. The average density of tobacco outlets rises from 50 per 10,000 population in the least income deprived areas to 100 per 10,000 in the most deprived areas. For alcohol outlets licensed to sell alcohol for consumption off the premises the figures were 25 per 10,000 in the least income deprived areas rising to 53 per 10,000 in the most income deprived areas.
Governments are increasingly recognising the wellbeing of their citizens as a policy priority. But in times of economic difficulty the welfare ‘safety net’ is often reduced, which may adversely affect the wellbeing of those most threatened by financial insecurities. Focusing on social inequalities in wellbeing across different countries – as we do in our latest paper – is therefore crucial.
Here, Jennifer Thomson, a PhD student with CRESH, describes her recent research into whether urban communities benefit from local woodland improvements, and places her important findings into policy context.
The Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Bill stage 3 will be debated today in the Scottish Parliament. Amendments to the bill include a clause, proposed by Dr Richard Simpson (MSP Labour, Mid-Scotland and Fife), to establish a National Register of Alcohol Premise Licenses and Personal Licences. CRESH support this amendment and called for such a register in evidence given by Niamh Shortt to the Local Government and Regeneration Committee.
Today we are launching an interactive webmap that allows users to map tobacco and alcohol outlet density, and related health outcomes, for neighbourhoods (‘datazones‘) across Scotland. The underlying data we have collected and assembled can also be freely downloaded for use. Our research from Scotland shows that outlet density matters for health:
areas with the highest alcohol outlet density have double the death rate of those with the lowest densities (see our blog post, report and infographic)
adolescents living in areas with the highest tobacco outlet density are almost 50% more likely to smoke than those with the lowest (see our blog post, paper and infographic).
ALCOHOL OUTLET DATA UPDATED 25 JUNE 2015: Previous to this date the alcohol outlet density data had used an alternate measure of density than outlets per km2, resulting in values that were typically 30-40% lower than the actual value. Whilst the figures have changed the general picture has not: an area of high density remains an area of high density. The rest of the data are unaffected.
As MSPs meet in the Scottish Parliament today to debate progress made against Scotland’s Alcohol Strategy, we’re launching a timely infographic to highlight the very real dangers of the oversupply of alcohol in our society, and the knock-on implications for health and inequality.
We’re looking for a full-time Administrative Assistant to help us with our research work for 5.5 months. The postholder will assist in gathering, transcribing and inputting historic data from archives, as part of a project that is looking at how places influence our health across the course of our lives (part of the larger Mobility, Mood and Place project). More information here.
In our recently-published study into alcohol outlets and health in Scotland we found strong correlations between the two: neighbourhoods with higher availability of outlets had higher rates of alcohol-related deaths and hospitalisations. In fact, residents of neighbourhoods with the highest availability were more than twice as likely to die a drink-related death than those with the fewest outlets, all else* being equal (*deprivation and urban/rural status).
In the UK, as in many other affluent countries, levels of physical activity have been declining in recent decades. In many areas with a history of heavy manual employment levels of physical activity are particularly low. This has been linked to a considerable reduction in work-related activities, coupled with a generally more sedentary life-style and the development of broader environmental factors unconducive to physical activity (e.g. increased traffic makes walking and cycling less safe and attractive). Furthermore, previous research has highlighted that participation in leisure-time physical activity is relatively low across those employed in physically demanding industries. Low levels of recreational physical activity in combination with a considerable loss of work activity would therefore result in particularly low activity levels in the former manual workforce. Continue reading Does deindustrialisation explain low levels of physical activity in the UK?→
by Helena Tunstall, Catherine Tisch and Anna Kenyon
The 15th International Medical Geography Symposium, the biggest international academic health geography conference, took place July 7-12 this year, at Michigan State University (MSU) in East Lansing, USA. This conference is always a fun, friendly and inspirational meeting: a real CRESH highlight. This time we were represented by Helena Tunstall (presenting on ‘triple jeopardy’ in England and impacts of internal migration on health inequalities in UK), Anna Kenyon (presenting on walkability measures and walking outcomes in Scotland) and Catherine Tisch (presenting on tobacco environments and adolescent smoking behaviours in Scotland). Abstracts for these talks can be found in the program, but watch this space for news of forthcoming publications on these topics. In this short blog post we note some thoughts arising from the conference. Continue reading CRESH goes Stateside: International Medical Geography Symposium 2013→
In CRESH’s latest publication, in the European Journal of Public Health, we look at health inequalities across Europe from a geographical perspective: tracking how life expectancy changed between 1991 and 2008 within 129 regions of 13 countries (combined population 272 million in 2008). Across this period life expectancies improved in every region (see maps below). But we find no evidence that geographical inequalities narrowed during this time, despite efforts to reduce the gap. In Eastern European regions the life expectancy gap for males actually widened. We then investigate whether the inequalities could be “explained” by socioeconomic disparities between the regions – measured as regional-average household income (in comparable units). We find that household income differences could partly explain the life expectancy gaps, although not for female Eastern Europeans. Continue reading Life expectancy changes in European regions over two decades: have the gaps narrowed or widened?→
How where we grow, live and age affects our health