Response to research from Cass Business School and the International Longevity Centre about growing inequalities in adult life expectancy From Institute of Health Equity and People’s Health Trust.

Commenting, the world’s leading expert on health inequalities, Director of the UCL Institute of Health Equity, Professor Sir Michael Marmot, said:

“The standard response to reducing the health gap (health inequalities) is to focus on health care or on life style choices such as increasing exercise, reducing food and alcohol intake and quitting smoking. But a focus only on lifestyle and personal responsibility is missing the point. Health can only be a personal responsibility if society’s conditions allow individuals to make healthy choices.

“The cause of the health gap is inequality in society: inequality in the conditions that people are born, grow, live work and age. Decades of research shows if we are to reduce health inequalities we need to focus on the whole life course including improving early years learning, ensuring all schools give students equal opportunities to succeed in life, and putting pressure on employers to provide fair and quality work where employees feel valued so they can be more in control of their lives to make healthy choices.”

John Hume, Chief Executive, People’s Health Trust said:

“Our involvement in working with local residents across Great Britain in neighbourhoods experiencing some of the greatest disadvantage, suggests that the real health issues which local residents feel impact them, are structural in nature and go far beyond lifestyle issues, for example no pay-low pay cycles, poor quality housing and tenancy disputes, lack of green space and suitable space to meet up and connect. We believe that one important way to tackle the real causes of the disparity in health between wealthier and poorer neighbourhoods is to support resident-led initiatives which place local people in control of initiatives addressing the socio-economic issues which they know, through experience, to be affecting their health and wellbeing locally.”

For more information contact:

People’s Health Trust: / 020 7697 4017