What’s next for the health of society?
A Glasgow academic has devised a public health website to discuss and examine why western civilisation is still struggling to conquer ill health despite overcoming many of the great diseases and medical conditions of the past.
Today, Professor Phil Hanlon, of the University’s Public Health department, launches The AfterNow Project which he hopes will stimulate public discussion on the health challenges facing modern Britain.
AfterNow traces the development of society’s current situation where medical conditions such as Obesity, Depression, Addictions, Loss of Wellbeing are reaching disturbing and unmanageable levels.
Professor Hanlon said: “I hope our website will do nothing less than change the way we think about health and wellbeing.
“We are in a change of age not just an age of change. With that comes threat and opportunity. This website is designed to start a discussion that will help us all realise the opportunities and diminish the threats.”
Professor Hanlon devised the website with Dr Sandra Carlisle, a research fellow in Public Health and Health Policy at the University.
In a series of six, five minute introductory videos – backed up by a dozen 10-minute audio podcasts and over 30 short papers – AfterNow unpacks the ideas which shape and limit contemporary responses to prevalent public health problems, while looking towards a brave new future for public health.
Afternow was part funded by the Scottish Government’s National Programme for Improving Mental Health and Wellbeing and its launch follows last week’s publication of research in the Public Health journal, on the ‘Glasgow Effect’.
The study, led by Professor Hanlon and David Walsh of the Glasgow Centre for Population Health, compared Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester between 2003 and 2007, and points to a “Glasgow Effect” or “Scottish Effect” which results in early death for adults in Scotland.
According to the experts, the disparities, amounting to 900 additional deaths a year in Glasgow, make it essential for further study into the causes which are pushing Scots living in the west coast of Scotland to a premature grave.
Professor Phil Hanlon said: “The Glasgow Effect has been created by our recent history.
“If we want our futures to be healthy we need to grapple with what's next for the health of society. Government cannot ‘fix’ the diseases of modernity like inequality, obesity, loss of wellbeing and addictions. Their causes are too deeply rooted in our culture.
“We need radically 'new ways of thinking, being and doing' is an effective transformation is to emerge.'”
AfterNow can be found at: http://www.afternow.co.uk/
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First published: 29 March 2010