We want people to remain healthy and independent for longer, reducing their need for health and social care as they grow older.
We are working in a number of ways to help people age more healthily, reducing their risk of preventable ill-health and disability. This includes working in coalition with others to address smoking, obesity, and harmful levels of alcohol consumption.
If we want to see more people keeping in good health for longer, we need to do more to prevent and delay ill-health in the first place. Smoking, harmful levels of alcohol consumption, unhealthy diets and physical inactivity are some of biggest contributors to ill-health as we grow older.
These risk factors are also closely linked to socioeconomic advantage – people from poorer backgrounds are more likely to live in environments and face circumstances where it is much more difficult to make healthy choices compared to richer people. For example, it is very difficult for us to make healthy choices if we live in environments where it is unsafe to walk to cycle or where unhealthy food and drink are relentlessly marketed and discounted while healthier options are harder to access.
Addressing smoking, alcohol, obesity and physical inactivity therefore has the potential to not only increase the number of years we spend in good health, it can also help to reduce the gap in healthy life years between the richest and the poorest.