Challenges to be met by 2020 outlined in public health report

September 29 2017

THREE targets have been set by health chiefs to improve the lives of people in South Gloucestershire.

THREE targets have been set by health chiefs to improve the lives of people in South Gloucestershire. 

By 2020, it is hoped to reduce by 20 per cent both the level of child poverty in the district and the gap in educational attainment between the more well off and the poorer children.

The third of the 2020 Challenges outlined by South Gloucestershire’s director of public health, Professor Mark Pietroni, in his annual report is to increase by 20 per cent the number of mothers who breastfeed.

Professor Pietroni said South Gloucestershire was generally a healthy place to live, with almost all data indicating better outcomes than the national and regional averages.

But there was a clear link between people’s health and educational achievements and their income levels, so while poverty was lower in the district than in many other areas, those living with less had measurably poorer health.

The public health sector and other organisations, including South Gloucestershire Council, will work on achieving the three challenges.

The council said one example of supporting families in need was the ActivePlay scheme, which allowed lower income families or those with children with disabilities to get vouchers for their children to use the area’s sports and leisure facilities.

Families can be referred to the scheme by health visitors, school nurses, children’s centre staff or the council’s 0-25 service.

Professor Pietroni said in his report: “The evidence is overwhelming that children who don’t have a good start in life have worse health and other outcomes when they get older.

“It is also very clear that the best value for money comes from interventions targeted at young children. This is a case of being the right thing to do as well as the best way to spend public resources.

“In South Gloucestershire, by and large, our population outcomes are good. However, there are issues that we need to address, including the number of children living in poverty.”