En­vi­ron­ment is a key fac­tor for health

The Scotsman - - News Digest - Josie Mur­ray

Lots of fac­tors con­trib­ute to health in­equal­ity, but ac­cess to en­vi­ron­ments where you can be phys­i­cally ac­tive is key.

Walk­ing and cy­cling are among the best ways of be­ing ac­tive, but we know that many ar­eas that aren’t con­ducive to that. Be­ing able to walk and cy­cle about safely is some­thing that a lot de­prived post­codes don’t cur­rently have. It’s in­cum­bent on peo­ple de­sign­ing the built en­vi­ron­ment to have ac­tive travel as a manda­tory part of their plan­ning, which it isn’t cur­rently.

A lack of peer sup­port is also an is­sue. The govern­ment is try­ing to in­tro­duce the Daily Mile into daily life, and we wel­come that, but if you haven’t been phys­i­cally ac­tive, it’s dif­fi­cult to get into that life­style.

As much as 70 per cent of health is de­ter­mined by things out­with health­care and ge­net­ics - so we need to ad­dress so­cial in­equal­ity if we’re se­ri­ous about im­prov­ing the na­tion’s health. l Pub­lic Health Regis­trar Josie Mur­ray is the ad­vo­cacy chair­woman in Scot­land for the Fac­ulty of Pub­lic Health

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