Preventing disease and injury is key to improving health. When we invest in prevention, the benefits are broadly shared. Children grow up in communities, homes and families that nurture their healthy development and people are productive and healthy both inside and outside the workplace. Businesses benefit because a healthier workforce reduces long-term health care costs and increases stability and productivity. Communities that offer a healthy, productive, stable workforce can be more attractive places for families to live and businesses to locate.
Many of the strongest predictors of health and wellbeing fall outside of the healthcare setting. Social, economic and environmental factors all influence health.
People with a quality education, stable employment, safe homes and neighbourhoods, and access to high quality preventative services tend to be healthier throughout their lives and live longer. Government, private, and community organisations all have roles to play in helping people exercise, eat healthy foods and seek preventative health services.
Prevention is a lifelong process that includes:
- planning and having a healthy pregnancy
- good eating and fitness habits in childhood
- the support of preventive services at all stages of life
- promoting the ability to remain active, independent and involved in the community as we age.
Many people living on the island have, or are at risk of developing, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other chronic conditions. These conditions account for a large proportion of disability, death and health inequalities much of which is preventable. Many of these conditions are associated with smoking, alcohol misuse, drug use and obesity.
Significant health inequalities exist and disproportionate amounts of this burden of disease are closely linked with social, economic and environmental disadvantage. Prevention efforts must ensure that all benefit.
IPH work on strengthening prevention
- providing support to the Department of Health, Social Services & Public Safety (NI) and the Department of Health (ROI) by contributing to policy and information support to strengthen effective preventive action to meet government targets.
- strengthening the development and use of the growing evidence base on public health interventions to reduce health inequalities. Existing evidence suggests prevention generally works and can reduce health system costs.
IPH partners on strengthening prevention
IPH is currently working with:
- Department of Health, Social Services & Public Safety (NI) and Department of Health (ROI) to support action in public health priority areas related to tobacco control, alcohol, drug use and obesity.