Public Health Priorities for Labour

Liverpool Public Health

My priorities for Health Behaviours …

  1. Change the language!
  2. More controls on junk food marketing to kids
  3. Minimum unit pricing for alcohol is a must
  4. Start taking cycling seriously
  5. Betting. When the ‘fun’ stops


This is my city

It is not a rich city!

Do not blame us about how we live or tell us it’s about our lifestyles or our behaviour but do something about our environment so that it’s easier for us to live healthier and longer.

Premature Deaths from Cardiovascular Disease are significantly higher in Liverpool City Region – 80% could be avoided through behaviour change:

Deaths from Cardiovascular Disease
DSRs = Directly Age-Standardised Rates

But for behaviour change to happen we need less emphasis on the individual more on the environment

  • We are surrounded by junk food and bombarded with messages to buy sugary drinks and processed food
  • It’s sometimes cheaper to buy alcohol than bottled water
  • Our traffic systems are built around cars when bicycles are the environmentally healthy choice
  • And a growing habit-forming behaviour that is leading to public health concerns
More controls on junk food marketing to kids
More controls on junk food marketing to kids

A Labour Government should close existing loopholes to restrict children’s exposure to junk food marketing across all the media they are exposed to. This should include updating current broadcast regulations with a 9pm watershed on advertising of food and drinks high in fat, sugar and salt to protect children during family viewing time and taking action to ensure online restrictions apply to all content watched by children. In addition rules should be extended to cover sponsorship of sports and family attractions and marketing communications in schools”  – Obesity Health Alliance Manifesto, April 2017. Emphasis my own.

Cheap lager

Minimum Unit Price of Alcohol. Ok in Scotland and Wales. How about the UK?

  • Low prices lead to increased alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harms
  • The cheapest products are favoured by the heaviest drinkers
  • A minimum unit price will reduce consumption and harms and will do this more effectively and more fairly by targeting the heaviest drinkers

Congested street

Have things changed from the ‘90s? This is Liverpool

People will only turn to cycling in great numbers when there is a significant investment in safe infrastructure.  

“Doctors should care about cycling, as it’s one of the best preventive health interventions we have. Active commuting, including cycling, is associated with reductions in mortality, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Body mass index and the percentage of body fat are lower in active commuters …

And it’s not just the individual cyclist who benefits. Car drivers who switch to a bike will reduce air pollution”.

Dr Margaret McCartney, BMJ, October 2017

Go by bike

Cycle commuting is associated with a lower risk of CVD, cancer, and all cause mortality. Walking commuting was associated with a lower risk of CVD independent of major measured confounding factors.

Gambling – How has it got to this?

Gambling sponsors football

Gambling is a Public Health Issue

  • It was the Labour Party who deregulated gambling in 2005. It has damaged the health of the nation
  • It’s a problem that goes beyond simply dealing with Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals
  • The Gambling Commission estimate that the number of British adults with gambling problems is in excess of 400,000 with a further two million at risk of significant health and social problems
  • Let’s ban shirt sponsorship by gambling companies in football
  • And let’s have a radical overhaul of gambling regulation
Benjamin Franklin 1706-1790
Benjamin Franklin 1706-1790

Prevention demonstrates a substantial RETURN ON INVESTMENT – most published health interventions are substantially COST-SAVING

Public Health Priorities for Labour – How Far Do You Dare To Reach?

  1. Change the environment so the default option is healthier.  Lay off on the victim blaming!
  2. We must do more to prevent junk food marketing to our kids which in turn fuels childhood obesity
  3. The evidence is there for Minimum Unit Pricing for Alcohol. Please act
  4. Cycling can and should be for everyone but there must be significant  investment outside London
  5. There should be a radical overhaul of gambling regulation

This was presented at our conference Public Health Priorities for Labour