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WMHPG news, information and resources 24 January 2020

We do not accept responsibility for the availability, reliability or content of these news items and do not necessarily endorse the views expressed within them.

UK Faculty of Public Health Strategy 2020-2025: https://www.fph.org.uk/media/2828/fph-strategy-2020-2025.pdf “...In the UK, however, health inequalities between rich and poor are widening, with poverty and homelessness increasing. Infant deaths are rising, early years health is worsening and life expectancy is stalling. Public health approaches to knife crime, gambling and drug misuse have been gaining recognition and should be embedded in all community strategies. There are unacceptably high levels of air pollution in many towns and cities and the serious adverse effects of this are now much better understood. We are seeing a fall in immunisation rates and screening uptake, which are vital for the prevention of disease and disability. And our health services do not take full advantage of preventing and controlling the premature onset of chronic and multiple diseases to the extent they should. We also need to protect the health of our environment and to live sustainably within the planet’s  resources. And we must act now to secure the best possible health for future generations.”

Sustainable development goals

John Middleton: Brexiting health—the UK will miss out on prosperity, public health and planetary health: https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2020/01/16/john-middleton-brexiting-health-the-uk-will-miss-out-on-prosperity-public-health-and-planetary-health/ “The UK faces a clear danger of being left behind on many actions which will determine the future well being of Europeans. It is already clear that we are being sidelined on research. Our major trading partner, the European Union, will call the shots in future trade deals. Our trading partners outside Europe may well go to the bigger bloc first for the deals they need and there is no guarantee that we can just walk into “World Trade Organisation conditions”  We may miss out on revenue from fair digital taxes and corporation taxes which require international political consensus and muscle. Outside of the EU, our burden of migration may increase. If we are not working collaboratively as part of EU provisions, and if we default on our share of the costs of the deal with Turkey to hold Syrian refugees, there will be no incentive for EU countries to prevent migration to our shores.”

Households below a Minimum Income Standard: 2008/09–2017/18: https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/households-below-minimum-income-standard-2017-18 “The Minimum Income Standard (MIS) reflects what members of the public think is needed for a minimum socially acceptable standard of living in the UK today. This report looks at the proportion of people who fall below this level, and those with incomes below 75% of MIS. It focuses on three groups: children, working-age adults and pensioners. Children continue to be the most likely of these three groups to be living in a household with an income below that needed for a minimum socially acceptable standard of living.”

The long and winding road: https://www.resolutionfoundation.org/publications/the-long-and-winding-road/ “So now is a particularly opportune time to step back and assess where UC has got to so far, and its likely impacts in the longer term. That is the subject of this report – supported by the Liverpool City Region (LCR) Combined Authority – which reviews both the national picture and the experience in LCR in particular as a case study of UC’s impact on a particular place and its people. We draw on analysis of administrative data, microsimulation modelling, case-study modelling, and in-depth qualitative interviews with UC recipients across LCR. As well as providing insights for local government and other organisations in LCR, this focus on one area illustrates that UC’s impact is more nuanced than either its opponents or supporters often suggest.”

Bringing the commercial determinants of health out of the shadows: a review of how the commercial determinants are represented in conceptual frameworks: https://academic.oup.com/eurpub/advance-article/doi/10.1093/eurpub/ckz197/5709506 “Our current public health models may risk framing public health problems and solutions in ways that obscure the role that the private sector, in particular large transnational companies, play in shaping the broader environment and individual behaviours, and thus population health outcomes.”

Where are England’s charities? https://www.thinknpc.org/resource-hub/where-are-englands-charities/ “But England also suffers geographical inequality in social capital and infrastructure. This research suggests that deprived areas in general, and many of the ‘left behind’ places in particular, suffer from a lack of charities, compounding their economic hardship with a lack of social capital. We argue that this is not an accident and the distribution of charities could be influenced by the charity taxation regime, the way that the government funds and the way that independent funders and larger charities behave.”

Oxfam- Time to Care: https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/time-care “Economic inequality is out of control. In 2019, the world’s billionaires, only 2,153 people, had more wealth than 4.6 billion people. This great divide is based on a flawed and sexist economic system that values the wealth of the privileged few, mostly men, more than the billions of hours of the most essential work – the unpaid and underpaid care work done primarily by women and girls around the world.” – more here - Global economy 'just plain sexist' – Oxfam: https://theecologist.org/2020/jan/20/global-economy-just-plain-sexist-oxfam

Social mobility at the top: how elites in the UK are pulling away: https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/social-mobility-at-the-top/ “The link between geographic mobility and the reproduction of social class advantage is having a powerful effect in British society, write Katharina Hecht, Daniel McArthur, Mike Savage, and Sam Friedman. Based on an original study of changing social and geographical mobility into elite occupations, they explain why the tensions between London and the English and Welsh ‘provinces’ have deep roots.”

Hull asks to be first UK city to trial universal basic income: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/jan/19/hull-universal-basic-income-trial “The proposal would mean every adult would be paid a basic sum – potentially between £50 and £100 a week – regardless of income, and do away with the need for welfare. People receiving disability payments would instead get the equivalent sum in universal basic income (UBI) and there would be higher payments for pensioners and lower sums for children. The ambitious scheme has been trialled with varying success in Finland, the US and Kenya but the idea has been gaining traction in a number of UK cities, particularly in the north of England.”

Young people and the post-crisis precarity: the abnormality of the ‘new normal’: https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/young-people-and-the-post-crisis-precarity/ “Craig Berry and Sean McDaniel draw upon research with focus groups and an online community exercise to examine the attitudes of young people in relation to the apparent ‘normalisation’ of precarity in the post-2008 economy. They find that although young people recognise the abnormality of labour market conditions, they nevertheless fail to see value in conventional forms of trade union organisation.”

Is there any *actual* evidence for social prescribing yet: https://gregfellpublichealth.wordpress.com/2020/01/20/is-there-any-actual-evidence-for-social-prescribing-yet/ “A cynical (or pragmatic?) view would be that a “roll out” has shades of many other schemes that get rolled out …. Seems “intuitively a good idea but rolled out without proper resourcing or evaluation”. The former is definitely true.”

Healthy planning & environment

A skills and knowledge framework for Health Impact Assessment: https://www.gov.uk/government/case-studies/a-skills-and-knowledge-framework-for-health-impact-assessment “How the Wales Health Impact Assessment Support Unit used the Public Health Skills and Knowledge Framework to review their training strategy and shape practice.”

Health Impact Assessment Training and Capacity Building Framework: https://whiasu.publichealthnetwork.cymru/files/3415/6136/9729/WHIASU_Training_and_Capacity_Building_Framework_for_HIA_in_Wales_2019-_2024_FINAL_TECHNICAL_DOCUMENT.pdf “This technical document sets out an underpinning framework for the Wales Health Impact Assessment Support Unit’s (WHIASU) approach to the design, development, delivery and evaluation of training and capacity building for HIA in Wales, the UK, and across the World Health Organization’s European Region for the next five years.”

Activists warn of ‘fracking by stealth’ and call for acid fracking ban: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jan/17/activists-warn-of-fracking-by-stealth-and-call-for-acid-fracking-ban “Campaigners have warned that the fracking moratorium announced by the UK government does not apply to acid fracking, a process that involves injecting acid into the earth to dissolve and fracture rock. More than 500 academics, politicians and campaigners have signed an open letter initiated by Brockham Oil Watch calling on the government to ban the practice over fears companies may use it to get around the moratorium.”


A Housing Design Audit for England: http://placealliance.org.uk/research/national-housing-audit/ “Planning authorities are under pressure to deliver new homes and are therefore prioritising numbers in the short-term over the long-term negative impacts of bad design. At the same time, house builders have little incentive to improve when their designs continue to pass through the planning system. Some highways authorities, meanwhile, do not even recognise their role in creating a sense of place for communities. “Collectively, house builders, planning authorities and highways authorities need to significantly raise their game. This can’t come soon enough”.

Raising Local Housing Allowance alone won't stop poverty rising: https://www.jrf.org.uk/blog/raising-local-housing-allowance-alone-wont-stop-poverty-rising “The recent welcome, but limited, measures will not move the dial enough to ensure people have a decent, secure home, or ensure that work pays, says Iain Porter.”

Ethically-Speaking, What Is The Most Reasonable Way Of Evaluating Housing Outcomes? https://housingevidence.ac.uk/publications/ethically-speaking-what-is-the-most-reasonable-way-of-evaluating-housing-outcomes/ “This paper addresses one of the most fundamental, but least considered, questions in housing research: how should we ultimately evaluate housing outcomes? Rejecting the fact vs value dichotomy so dominant in the social sciences, this paper draws on the work of Amartya Sen and Hilary Putnam to critically assess the ethical assumptions behind three commonly adopted “informational spaces” for evaluating housing outcomes: economic, subjective and “objective” metrics.”

Climate change & sustainability

State of the climate: How the world warmed in 2019: https://www.carbonbrief.org/state-of-the-climate-how-the-world-warmed-in-2019 “All of the official climate data for 2019 is now in. In this article, Carbon Brief explains why last year proved to be so remarkable across the planet’s oceans, atmosphere, cryosphere and surface temperature.”

Carbon Clock: https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/climate-change-data-green/carbon-clock.html “Scientists have measured the rising level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere since the 1950s. The Bloomberg Carbon Clock is a real-time estimate of the monthly CO2 level.” -  the only real measure of whether we are tackling climate change.

Increase in global emissions of HFC-23 despite near-total expected reductions: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-13899-4 “Under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, new controls are being implemented to reduce emissions of HFC-23 (CHF3), a by-product during the manufacture of HCFC-22 (CHClF2). Starting in 2015, China and India, who dominate global HCFC-22 production (75% in 2017), set out ambitious programs to reduce HFC-23 emissions. Here, we estimate that these measures should have seen global emissions drop by 87% between 2014 and 2017. Instead, atmospheric observations show that emissions have increased and in 2018 were higher than at any point in history (15.9 ± 0.9 Gg yr−1).” – media coverage here: Study finds shock rise in levels of potent greenhouse gas: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jan/21/study-finds-shock-rise-in-levels-of-potent-greenhouse-gas-hfc-23

Analysis: The climate papers most featured in the media in 2019: https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-the-climate-papers-most-featured-in-the-media-in-2019 “Using Altmetric data for 2019, Carbon Brief has compiled its annual list of the 25 most talked-about climate change-related papers that were published the previous year. The infographic above shows which ones made it into the Top 10.”

Wide coverage of the World Economic Forum in Davos;

CCC (Committee on Climate Change) : One fifth of UK farmland must be used to tackle climate change: https://www.carbonbrief.org/ccc-one-fifth-of-uk-farmland-must-be-used-to-tackle-climate-change “An “urgent” overhaul of the UK’s land and agricultural sector will be essential to meet the government’s legally binding net-zero target, says the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) in a new report. The government advisors say that with adequate support, nearly two-thirds of emissions from the land sector can be cut by 2050 without hampering UK food production.”

Ashden – blogs, news and opinion: https://www.ashden.org/news-and-events/news-and-opinion A selection of blogs and articles – including the Climate Quiz of 2019 https://www.ashden.org/news/ashdens-climate-quiz-of-2019

Budget Setting In A Climate Emergency: https://neweconomics.org/2020/01/budget-setting-in-a-climate-emergency “Last month Wales became the first nation to put forward a government budget after declaring a climate emergency. Scotland will produce a budget on 6 February, and the UK government in March. We’ve been supporting Wales’ Future Generations Commissioner in their work, and have some insights into the Welsh government’s efforts, and what other administrations can learn from Wales.”

'It’s just not going to happen': Boris Johnson accused of making impossible pledge for climate crisis summit: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/boris-johnson-climate-change-summit-glasgow-fossil-fuel-paris-agreement-a9289116.html “Boris Johnson has been accused of making absurd claims about the crucial climate change summit the UK will host this year, after apparently misunderstanding what it can achieve. Green campaigners have reacted with bemusement and alarm after the prime minister pledged to pile pressure on “the whole world” to agree “enforceable limits” on carbon emissions. They say there is no realistic prospect of setting legally-binding CO2 cuts in Glasgow in November, where leaders will instead be urged to beef-up existing voluntary reductions.”

Climate refugees can't be returned home, says landmark UN human rights ruling: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/20/climate-refugees-cant-be-returned-home-says-landmark-un-human-rights-ruling “The judgment – which is the first of its kind – represents a legal “tipping point” and a moment that “opens the doorway” to future protection claims for people whose lives and wellbeing have been threatened due to global heating, experts say. Tens of millions of people are expected to be displaced by global heating in the next decade.”

Weather shows evidence of climate change every single day since 2012: https://www.nationalgeographic.co.uk/environment-and-conservation/2020/01/weather-shows-evidence-climate-change-every-single-day-2012 “For years, scientists have cautioned that weather can’t tell us about how the climate is changing. That 70-degree day in January? There are a whole pile of reasons that could have happened. Climate change, they’ve said, could be part of the equation, but our statistical techniques haven’t previously been finely enough tuned to pick out the direct influence on weather of human-caused global warming. But those days are over. Climate change has dug in its claws so thoroughly into the planet that its marks can be seen in any single day of global weather since 2012. A 6-year-old child, therefore, has never lived a day without feeling climate change’s influence.”

'The Climate Trail': Survival game pits players against climate catastrophe: https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/01/the-climate-trail-survival-game-pits-players-against-climate-catastrophe/ “You’re trapped in a survivor camp in the ruins of Atlanta along with thousands of other climate change refugees, and the only path to relative safety is due north into Canada. You set off with a small band of people, among them Katherine, a former climate scientist; Albert, a hardened Army veteran of the Resource Wars; and Bonnie, whose parents died from the plague when permafrost melted, releasing the disease back into the environment. You provision your group with water, food, and a portable and valued currency, sorghum seeds, and begin an uncertain journey. So begins “The Climate Trail“, a free (and ad-free) video game released this past fall that leaps from the pages of today’s climate change news and into a postapocalyptic future said to lie just a few decades ahead of us. It can be played on iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows.”

'Transformation through transparency': How Microsoft will collaborate to meet its carbon-negative goals: https://www.edie.net/news/6/-Transformation-through-transparency---How-Microsoft-will-collaborate-to-meet-its-carbon-negative-goals/ “As it strives to meet its boldest sustainability target to date - becoming "carbon-negative" by 2030 - Microsoft will need to forge innovative collaborations with businesses across and beyond its supply chain.”

Active travel & transport

This new IKEA store has zero parking spaces: https://www.fastcompany.com/90452815/this-new-ikea-store-has-zero-parking-spaces “A typical Ikea store comes with a sprawling parking lot—in Burbank, California, for example, the lot has room for 1,700 cars. But as the company works to shrink its carbon footprint, including the pollution from customers driving to suburban stores, it’s also rethinking parking. A new seven-store building that will house an Ikea store in central Vienna, now under construction, will have zero parking spaces. “The whole building is geared towards pedestrians, subway and streetcar riders, and cyclists—there is no space for cars,” the company writes in German on a store website.”

Walking to school is not enough to prevent obesity: https://theconversation.com/walking-to-school-is-not-enough-to-prevent-obesity-129857 “More children are overweight or obese nowadays because they don’t get enough exercise, it is often claimed. One of the UK government’s goals in the Childhood Obesity Plan is to increase the number of children who walk to school. Walking is certainly healthy, but is it enough to combat childhood obesity? Our latest study suggests it isn’t.”

Air quality & pollution

Prenatal exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons modifies the effects of early life stress on attention and Thought Problems in late childhood: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jcpp.13189 “Prenatal exposure to PAH, a common neurotoxicant in air pollution, may magnify or sustain the effects of early life psychosocial/socioeconomic stress on psychiatric outcomes later in child development. This work highlights the critical role of air pollution exposure on child mental health.”

Malaysia returns 42 containers of 'illegal' plastic waste to UK: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51176312 “Malaysia is returning 42 shipping containers of illegally imported plastic waste to the UK, its environment minister has announced. Yeo Bee Yin said Malaysia would take "steps to ensure" the country "does not become the garbage dump of the world".”

Food & food security

Neural response to fast food commercials in adolescents predicts intake: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/31940031/ “These findings suggest that FF commercials contribute to overeating in adolescents through reward mechanisms. The addition of healthier commercials from FF restaurants is unlikely to encourage healthier food intake, but interventions that reduce the ability of unhealthy FF commercials to capture attention could be beneficial. However, an overall reduction in the amount of FF commercials exposure for adolescents is likely to be the most effective approach.”

Agriculture Bill: here’s what it means for farming and the environment after Brexit: https://theconversation.com/agriculture-bill-heres-what-it-means-for-farming-and-the-environment-after-brexit-130091 “Over the next seven years, farmers will move from the CAP regulations to a new system of environmental land management contracts. These will detail the terms and conditions under which farmers and land managers will receive funding. Subsidies are expected to be paid out from taxpayer funds at the same rate as the EU – about £3 billion a year – to enable landowners to deliver the public goods set out in the UK government’s 25 Year Environment Plan and the Clean Growth Strategy.”

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