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.
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.
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