Yesterday saw the launch of the National Strategy to meet the government’s stated mission of “five extra healthy years by 2035”.
The key challenge this initiative aims to address is that, whilst we are all living longer, too many of these years are just extra years of bad health. There are also continued, significant health inequalities, with the richest people in the UK living on average 20 years longer in good health than the poorest.
The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Longevity spent nine months gathering evidence from a wide range of experts, which included our Co-founders, Laura and Simon, who contributed to the National Consultation and Evidence Submissions.
The key solution is a switch from treating ill-health to preventing it, with changes in the way the NHS spends its money and a national strategy to reduce harmful behaviour. Currently the NHS spends less than 5% of its budget on prevention; the recommendation is to increase this to 15% by 2035.
Furthermore, central and local government, the NHS and Public Health England need to jointly commit to reduce smoking, obesity and excess alcohol consumption, and increase physical activity, by 2035 – with clear action plans.
The APPG states that without significant change the government will not meet its goal “for everyone to have five extra years of healthy, independent life by 2035, and to narrow the gap between the richest and the poorest.”
The report – The Health of the Nation – a strategy for healthier longer lives – is optimistic that these challenges can be overcome and sets out the recommended changes for more of us to live in good health for longer.