Health is ‘a state of complete physical, social and mental wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.’ It is a broad concept, embracing as it does our bodies, our minds, our feelings about ourselves and where we live, as well as our ability to help ourselves and others.
What’s more, our health is largely socially determined. That is to say, most health outcomes can be put down to socio-economic factors and our physical environment. Just 15% of outcomes are due to biology and genetics. A further 25% of outcomes can be attributed to the healthcare system itself. Good health is therefore a multi-disciplinary issue and not the sole preserve of healthcare professionals.
As Michael Marmot has pointed out, ‘commonly, health is equated with healthcare and public health with disease control programmes’. Like many experts in this field, Marmot argues for other approaches to complement these and address the causality of poor health.
Evidence suggests that addressing the ‘causes of the causes’ is the right way to proceed… ensuring that people have the skills and control over their lives to be able to change behaviour.
WHAT IMPACT DO YOU THINK ADULT LEARNING HAS ON OUR HEALTH?
WHO SHOULD FUND ADULT LEARNING THAT BENEFITS OUR HEALTH?
WHAT SHOULD THE STRATEGY BE?
 World Health Organisation, 1948 quoted in GRALE (2016) p.68
 Canadian study, 2009, quoted in GRALE (2016) p.68
 Review of Social Determinants and the Health Divide in the WHO European Region, (2014) p.vi
 ibid, p.4