There has been a marked improvement in life expectancy over the last 100 years. However, there are huge inequalities across the population, with a 20 year difference noted in some areas. Living longer doesn't necessarily equate to living better or healthier.
Better housing and living conditions, alongside improved access to health care and vaccination during the 20th century has led to a significant reduction in infectious diseases.
Today it is non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes and respiratory conditions that are of increasing concern. The underlying causes of ill health are often attributable to unhealthy lifestyles, namely smoking, obesity and alcohol consumption. These are also associated with social inequalities. This is primarily deprivation but other factors play a part such as education or social habits.
This resource, including the specific public health topic resources on areas of practice have been developed with the RCN Professional Lead for Public Health and the RCN Public Health forum alongside expert members and forum link nurses: see RCN Public Health forum for details.
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