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Achievements and challenges

Public Health: advocating better health for everyone

We have come from this:

 Victorian slums and railway bridges

  ... to this: 

  Pub manager with blackboard advertising non-smoking pub with coffee shop


How was this done? 

By people interested in the health of the public who:

  • understand the impact of disease and ill-health on different communities
  • understand how to prevent the causes of disease and ill-health

What has public health achieved for the population?

  • clean water and sanitation
  • safe food
  • safe working conditions
  • fewer infectious diseases
  • immunisation programmes covering whole populations

What has been the result?

  • people living healthier and fitter lives for longer
  • fewer infant and child deaths

And what are the new challenges now for public health workers?

  • management of chronic diseases
  • new infectious diseases
  • climate change and its impact on health
  • widening inequalities in health
  • new lifestyle threats such as obesity and binge drinking




  • Management of swine flu pandemic
  • New salt reduction targets in food
  • Banning of smoking in public places
  • Some reduction on smoking
  • Some improvements in life expectancy


  • Reducing alcohol consumption - particularly targeting binge drinking
  • Tackling the health effects of climate change in the UK
  • Reversing the rising tide of obesity and overweight in the population
  • Smoking is still a problem for key sectors of society
  • Widening health inequalities and no reduction as yet in the social gradient of health
  • Management of chronic diseases

Document downloads

  • Achievements and challenges in public health
    Adobe PDF document, 282 KB

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