Our health is shaped by the built and natural environment we live in. In the UK, health inequalities are in part, driven by geographical location and the physical environment. Planetary Health is a concept growing in popularity to describe the inextricable link between our human health and the health of our planet. UCL researchers are considering how better air quality, availability and design of healthy low-carbon, sustainable buildings, uptake of active transport and access to green spaces could all improve our health.
Our health is shaped by the world around us; where we live, where we learn or work, what we eat, the way we travel, and how our taxes are spent. Complex system thinking can help us to understand and address the interconnectedness of the many factors impacting our health. At UCL we are exploring how whole system approaches can be used to improve health and reduce inequalities. We are exploring reshaping food systems to improve health, what works in health and social care systems for prevention of ill-health, and better use of economic and legal levers to improve the health of the public.
New technologies are transforming the way we protect and improve health, and communicate health messages. From Artificial Intelligence and big data to smartphone technologies and remote diagnostics, UCL researchers are considering how to steer scientific and technological advances to tackle societal challenges, and developing and deploying technologies across the health and social care system and beyond, to improve the health of the public.
An individual or population’s life experiences can impact their health. From our early years, education and educational environments through to our employment status and work environments – all shape our health. UCL researchers are working to improve pre-natal and early year health, young people’s health and wellbeing and considering how levels of educational attainment affect people’s health. They are creating knowledge and evidence about how our working environment, including zero hours contract and work-related stress, can impact our health and what we can do to promote good physical and mental health, and achieve healthy ageing.