Health is usually described as a "state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity" (World Health Organisation, 2006). This means how your mind, body and environment interact and impact how you feel and behave. Health and care services have an important role to play but on their own do not create good health and wellbeing.
To create a healthy society we need the right building blocks in place, which include safe and secure housing, employment, education, a healthy diet, decent transport and a good start in life for the very young. Where these building blocks are strong, people enjoy good health and wellbeing.
Enabling everyone in Nottinghamshire to live healthier and happier lives, to prosper in their communities and remain independent in later life involves all of us.
Building blocks for health and wellbeing
Work is generally good for both mental and physical health. Being in work has a strong positive influence on health, through its provision of income, social interaction, a core role, identity and purpose. Also providing a safe and supportive work environment will keep people well and in work for longer.
Our health is influenced by our surroundings and what opportunities they offer such as green space, safety and security, access to shops and schools as well as other amenities. Our environment should support us to lead happy and healthy lives.
Money and resources
There is a strong relationship between money and people’s health outcomes. Living in poverty in particular is associated with worse health and growing up in poverty has a huge impact on people’s future life chances.
What we eat
Access to healthy, tasty and affordable food is vital to the quality of people’s lives and plays an essential role in improving individual and community health and wellbeing.
Education and skills
A good education is one of the main markers for wellbeing through the life course making it extremely important that no child is left behind at the beginning of their school life.
The condition and nature of housing can have a big impact on people’s lives and can contribute positively and negatively to people’s physical and mental health. Housing problems such as overcrowding, poor quality and unaffordable homes and particularly homelessness can threaten people’s health and wellbeing.
Transport helps us to see our family and friends, get to work, go on holiday, access education and health services, and do the activities that we enjoy.
Families, friends and communities
Communities have a vital role to play as having good relationships with one another and the place you live improves health and wellbeing.
What is the health and wellbeing of people across Nottinghamshire?
Women in Nottinghamshire live 83 years and men 80 years, which is the same as the average for the whole of England for men but 6 months less for women. In Nottinghamshire, the average length of life in which people enjoy good health (this is our healthy life expectancy) is 62 years for women and 63 years for men.
These averages obscure some stark variations for communities in Nottinghamshire. People living in the least advantaged areas generally die 7.5 years earlier and have spent an additional 14 years more living in ill-health, compared to those living in the most advantaged areas. This is one example of a health inequality.
Health inequalities are unfair and avoidable differences in health between different groups of people.
Gaps like this occur where key building blocks for good health and wellbeing are weak or missing. To fix the gaps, we need to strengthen the building blocks – things like ensuring everyone has a safe and secure home, education and employment, access to a healthy diet, and getting the best start in our early years.
More information about the health and wellbeing of people in Nottinghamshire can be found on the Nottinghamshire Insight website.
Where can you find help and support?
There is a range of advice, support and services available for people who want to improve their health and wellbeing, please visit the Notts Help Yourself website for more information.