Many Londoners lead healthy lives, but citizens’ health and longevity of life can vary widely from place to place. There are clear differences across the city, particularly between Northeast and Southwest and inner and outer London. These
differences seem to be shaped by deprivation and broader socio-economic factors. Children’s physical and mental wellbeing in particular tend to be shaped by circumstances and too many Londoners get off to too poor a start in life. And, almost 15 years on from winning the bid to host the Olympics, East London has fared worse on a number of health indicators.
There are three levels of challenges. Firstly, sustained funding levels, improving
staff recruitment and retention and better coordination between agencies will support the health service to deal with the symptoms and invest in prevention. Secondly, there are policies with can help address the factors that contribute to poor health and wellbeing, from fast-food outlets near schools to lack of access to green spaces or walking and cyclinginfrastructure and high air pollution. But thirdly and most difficult of all, we need to look at the root causes of the problems, such as entrenched poverty, precarious housing conditions and economic uncertainty. There are structural and embedded challenges in the city, which policymakers and practitioners must address.