Prevention

Our vision is to fundamentally shift focus towards health and wellbeing rather than disease management. We want it to be easier to make healthy choices and ensure the environments where Londoners spend their time encourage healthy behaviours. This begins by giving every child in London the best start in life. It means ensuring their health and wellbeing is supported from early and school years so they are healthy, work-ready and resilient in later life.

Our challenges

London has a lot of preventable illness:

  • 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

If we fail to tackle preventable illnesses then the future health and wellbeing of Londoners will be adversely affected. Not to mention the threat to sustainability of the NHS and the economic prosperity of our city.

"In parts of London, a quarter of children leaving primary school are obese. Half of all mental illness in adults starts before a child reaches the age of 14. So helping children is a particularly effective means of reducing the impact of physical and mental health problems later in life."

The NHS Five Year Forward View (FYFV) and Better Health for London both emphasised that preventing ill-health must be a core focus of the health and care system. The FYFV described new national efforts and Better Health for London 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.

About this programme

Working in partnership with Public Health England, Local Authorities and the Greater London Authority, five key areas will form the prevention programme:

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

Click here to download resources

The London Prevention Board was established to align the scope and programme priorities and undertake a strong focus on childhood obesity.

Find out what we learnt by working with three neighbourhoods in London to develop local, sustainable and place-based initiatives that tackle childhood obesity...

A conversation with Londoners about childhood obesity