Adding to Social capital and individual Potential in ex-Industrial REgions (ASPIRE)

This proposed project will be applying for funding under the Interreg VA France (Channel) England programme which focuses on issues that affect the coastal areas of southern England and northern France. In both areas there are places currently deeply affected by the closure of a single dominant employer such as mining, ship-building and heavy industrial production. The local economy has found it hard to replace the jobs lost and the resulting deprivation shows in the levels of unemployment and general ill-health (mental and physical).

This project will initiate and encourage small-scale community involvement in growing, cooking and selling local produce, creating a healthier community and enabling small businesses to evolve and regenerate the local economy.

The Health and Europe Centre are the lead partners in this project and although it is in its very earliest stages, we already have a number of organisations interested in becoming partners, including Medway CIC, KCC, Plymouth Council, Kent CHFT and the Hadlow Group through the Betteshanger Community Park.

Ambient air pollution: A global assessment

Air pollution has become a growing concern in the past few years, with an increasing number of acute air pollution episodes in many cities worldwide. As a result, data on air quality is becoming increasingly available and the science underlying the related health impacts is also evolving rapidly.

This report presents a summary of methods and results of the latest World Health Organization(WHO) global assessment of ambient air pollution exposure and the resulting burden of disease.

Download the full report on Ambient Air Pollution from the who.int website

12 ways to reduce your cancer risk.

The European Code Against Cancer focuses on actions that individuals can take to reduce their risk of developing cancer. It lists 12 actions that will make a significant difference to a person’s health and longevity:

  • Do not smoke. Do not use any form of tobacco.
  • Make your home smoke free. Support smoke-free policies in your workplace.
  • Take action to be a healthy body weight.
  • Be physically active in everyday life. Limit the time you spend sitting
  • Have a healthy diet: eat plenty of whole grains, pulses, vegetables and fruits; limit high-calorie foods (foods high in sugar or fat) and avoid sugary drinks; avoid processed meat; limit red meat and foods high in salt.
  • If you drink alcohol of any type, limit your intake. Not drinking alcohol is better for cancer prevention.
  • Avoid too much sun, especially for children. Use sun protection. Do not use sunbeds.
  • In the workplace, protect yourself against cancer-causing substances by following health and safety instructions.
  • Find out if you are exposed to radiation from naturally high radon levels in your home. Take action to reduce high radon levels.
  • For women: Breastfeeding reduces the mother’s cancer risk so if you can, breastfeed your baby; Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) increases the risk of certain cancers so limit use of HRT.
  • Ensure your children take part in vaccination programmes for Hepatitis B (for newborns) and Human papillomavirus (HPV) (for girls).
  • Take part in organised cancer screening programmes for:
    • Bowel cancer (men and women)
    • Breast cancer (women)
    • Cervical cancer (women).

Print the full Code against Cancer from the cancer-code-europe.iarc.fr website

Women’s health and well-being in Europe

The latest session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe has considered the Strategy on women’s health and well-being in the WHO European Region and produced a report “Women’s health and well-being in Europe: beyond the mortality advantage”.

To provide background to the Strategy, the new report:

  • presents a snapshot of women’s health in the Region;
  • discusses the social, economic and environmental factors that determine women’s health and well-being;
  • focuses on the impact of gender-based discrimination and gender stereotypes;
  • considers how people-centred health systems could respond to women’s needs; and
  • outlines important perspectives for the international and national frameworks that govern women’s health and well-being in Europe.

Download the full report on Women’s health and wellbeing in Europe from the euro.who.int website

Promoting Health and Wellbeing towards 2030

Thirty years after the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion, EuroHealthNet has published ‘Promoting Health and Wellbeing towards 2030: taking the Ottawa Charter Forward in the context of the UN Sustainable Development Agenda 2030′.

This statement confirms the role and contribution of health promotion in achieving sustainable development and social progress and includes 10 steps to promote health in a rapidly changing world. In order to maximise the role of health promotion, EuroHealthNet believes the sector needs to be:

  • responsive
  • equitable
  • joined up
  • updated
  • value driven
  • ethical
  • new
  • active
  • technological
  • ecological

Download the full statement on Health Promotion from the eurohealthnet.eu website

Health inequalities for LGBTI people

The European Parliament funds a number of pilot projects – projects which are experimental and designed to test the feasibility and usefulness of action. They are intended to develop evidence-based strategies to address a problem, identify good practices, and provide policy guidance for the benefit of possible future initiatives in the area of health inequalities.

This particular pilot project will increase understanding of how best to reduce specific health inequalities experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and intersex (LGBTI) people, focusing in particular on overlapping inequalities stemming from discrimination and unfair treatment on other grounds (e.g. older, younger, refugee, immigrant, disability, rural, poverty).

The project will explore the particular health needs and challenges faced by LGBTI people and analyse the key barriers faced by health professionals when providing care for LGBTI people. The aim is to raise awareness of the challenges and provide European health professionals with the tools that give them the right skills and knowledge to overcome these barriers and contribute to the reduction of health inequalities.

More information about this project on health inequalities for LGBTI people is on the ec.europa.eu website

Prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases

The WHO has produced an action plan for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases in the European Region, focusing on priority action areas and interventions for the next decade in order to reduce premature mortality, reduce the disease burden, improve the quality of life and make healthy life expectancy more equitable.
The priority interventions, at population level are:
  • promoting healthy consumption via fiscal and marketing policies on tobacco, alcohol and food
  • product reformulation and improvement in terms of salt, fats and sugars
  • salt reduction
  • promoting active living and mobility
  • promoting clean air

Download the action plan for the prevention and control of NCDs on the euro.who.int website

Investing in health literacy

Nearly half the European population is thought to have difficulty identifying, understanding and using health information. As this has real and negative health consequences, improving health literacy is a crucial step in improving people’s health. Health literacy skills are best developed early in life, which means the education sector is an important player, but it is not always easy to secure investment across sectors or to persuade the education sector to engage.

However, there is evidence that investing in health literacy in schools helps with outcomes beyond health. Some of the co-benefits include the possibility of better educational outcomes in school, leading to enhanced career opportunities and increased economic benefits for children when they reach adulthood. These co-benefits also contribute to better physical and emotional health and can be passed down to future generations.

The European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies has produced a report on these co-benefits and outlines the evidence on how to secure them, in the hope this will increase support from outside the health sector and facilitate the implementation of health literacy programmes.

To download the report on the benefits of health literacy from the euro.who.int website

Less meat = better health and better planet

Unhealthy levels of meat consumption and production are simultaneously driving climate change, diet-related chronic diseases and resistance to antibiotics, according to the European Public Health Alliance.

They argue that a transition towards sustainable diets is necessary for a realistic climate strategy and represents the agricultural sector’s main climate mitigation opportunity.

Studies suggest that realistic changes in eating patterns in high income countries could reduce per capita greenhouse gas emissions by 25-50%.

To read the full article on meat consumption and climate change on the epha.org website

Climate change and health

All populations will be affected by climate change, but some are more vulnerable than others. In Europe it will be people living on small islands, in coastal regions and on rivers who will be particularly vulnerable.

WHO have produced a fact sheet on climate change and health which provides key facts, outlines patterns of infection, measures health effects and details the WHO’s response.

The key facts include:

  • Climate change affects the social and environmental determinants of health – clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food and secure shelter.
  • Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress.
  • The direct damage costs to health (i.e. excluding costs in health-determining sectors such as agriculture and water and sanitation), is estimated to be between US$ 2-4 billion/year by 2030.
  • Areas with weak health infrastructure – mostly in developing countries – will be the least able to cope without assistance to prepare and respond.
  • Reducing emissions of greenhouse gases through better transport, food and energy-use choices can result in improved health, particularly through reduced air pollution.

In 2015, the WHO Executive Board endorsed a new work plan on climate change and health. This includes:

  • Partnerships: to coordinate with partner agencies within the UN system, and ensure that health is properly represented in the climate change agenda.
  • Awareness raising: to provide and disseminate information on the threats that climate change presents to human health, and opportunities to promote health while cutting carbon emissions.
  • Science and evidence: to coordinate reviews of the scientific evidence on the links between climate change and health, and develop a global research agenda.
  • Support for implementation of the public health response to climate change: to assist countries to build capacity to reduce health vulnerability to climate change, and promote health while reducing carbon emissions.

For more information on climate change and health on the who.int website