Healthy London > Our work > Prevention

Prevention

Our vision is to fundamentally shift London’s health focus towards health and wellbeing rather than simply disease management. We want healthy choices to be easier and for London’s environment to encourage healthy behaviours. It begins by ensuring children’s health and wellbeing is supported from early and school years, so they are healthy, work-ready and resilient in later life. If we fail to tackle preventable illnesses, Londoners’ health and wellbeing will suffer. Sustainability of the NHS and the economic prosperity of our city will also be at risk.

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Focusing on prevention

Londoners have plenty of illnesses and poor health we can prevent if we take action now:

  • More than half of the entire adult population in London is overweight or clinically obese – some 3.8 million people. London has the highest rate of childhood obesity of any peer global city, and the highest proportion of obese children in all the regions of England. Almost one in four children in Reception and more than one in three children in Year 6 are overweight or obese
  • One in every five Londoners will have a mental health problem in their lifetime. One in 10 children and young people aged 5-16 have a diagnosable mental health disorder
  • There are still 1.2 million smokers in London with 8,400 deaths and 51,000 hospital admissions a year attributable to smoking. 67 children take up smoking each day in London
  • Binge and high-risk drinking are now concentrated in particular areas of London, which also have the highest alcohol related admissions to hospital

The NHS Five Year Forward View and Better Health for London both emphasised that preventing ill health must be core to our health and care system. Between them they described new national efforts and detailed ways London’s health and care system can support and accelerate national actions on major health risks, with a particular emphasis on promoting health and wellbeing in children.

Working with Public Health England, local authorities and the Greater London Authority, we are focusing on five key areas:

1. Informing the transformation of health and care systems to embed health and wellbeing, starting with child health and care

2. Improving workplace health, within and beyond the health and care system

3. Taking innovative action to reduce smoking and obesity and promote wellbeing

4. Developing new and stronger partnerships to promote health

5. Examining opportunities to tackle city-level health challenges