Public health - What is public health?

Download a PDF of Chapter 1 - Introduction to public health (131KB)

The environment in which we live affects whether or not we are able to lead healthy lives. ‘Public health’ is about understanding the factors that influence people’s health, and finding ways of improving it. The emphasis of public health policies is prevention rather than treatment of ill health.

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Latest NICE guidance supports Council’s recommendations on alcohol

Recommendations made by the Council in its 2007 report 'Public health: ethical issues' have been strengthened today by a call from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) for the Government to address the problem of alcohol harm by introducing a minimum price per unit of alcohol.

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"Whose potbelly is it anyway?"

Professor Inez de Beaufort, Professor of Healthcare Ethics at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, gave the Council's 2010 public lecture on ethics, public health and obesity to a packed audience at the Royal Society in London.

The lecture is recorded in four parts, the first is the clip embedded below, then follow the links to watch the rest of the lecture.

"Whose potbelly is it anyway?" Part 2

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NICE adopts stewardship model for public health

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has adopted the Council’s stewardship model for public health “as a reference point for guiding decisions about what types of intervention may be justified.”

The stewardship model was proposed as a basis for making decisions about public health issues including alcohol and tobacco, infectious diseases, obesity and water fluoridation in the Council's 2007 report Public health: ethical issues.

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Response to the Government's Review of the Licensing Act 2003

“Excessive drinking still causes a huge amount of harm in this country, both in terms of violent crime and harm to people’s health,” said Hugh Whittall, Director of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics. “The Government has an ethical obligation to do more to tackle this problem, and the measures outlined today seem to be a small step in the right direction.”

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Public health: ethical issues report launch

The Council launched its report Public health: ethical issues at a public seminar held in Westminster, London on 13th November 2007. Find out more about this report.

Around 200 people attended, including policy makers, academics, students and others interested in the topic. Working Party members presented the findings of the report and took questions from the audience.

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Government and industry not doing enough for our health

The Government and industry are not doing enough to help people live healthy lives, says the Nuffield Council on Bioethics in a report on public health ethics published today. The report, which highlights the importance of reducing health inequalities, looks specifically at alcohol, obesity, smoking, infectious disease and fluoridation of water.

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