Providing valuable information about the health and wellbeing of the population and helping policy makers and service providers identify areas where interventions are most needed.
Population health is a key theme in the ongoing effort to tackle health inequalities. Programmes addressing food, physical activity, women’s health, health of refugees and asylum seekers, mental health and employment remain key priorities in the Public Health landscape. Public Health Institute provides expert research to inform the delivery and development of interventions and services.
We use a range of research methodologies, including evaluations, systematic review, audits, needs assessments and Social Return on Investment, to provide evidence to inform effective commissioning.
Population health Case Studies
Exploring the acceptability of a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages
Evidence has suggested that placing a tax on sugary drinks could reduce consumption and reduce levels of obesity. The North West Directors of Public Health developed the healthy weight collaborative ‘Food Active’, who commissioned this report to explore the acceptability …
Publications for Population health
Papers for Population health
Relationships between adverse childhood experiences and adult mental well-being: results from an English national household survey
Professor Karen Hughes, Helen Lowey, Dr Zara Quigg, Professor Mark Bellis
BMC Public Health 16:222, 2016.
Abstract: Background: Individuals’ childhood experiences can strongly influence their future health and well-being. Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) such as abuse and dysfunctional home environments show strong cumulative relationships with physical and mental illness yet less is known about their effects on mental well-being in the general population. Methods: A nationally representative household survey of English adults (n = 3,885) measuring current mental well-being (Short Edinburgh-Warwick Mental Well-being Scale SWEMWBS) and life satisfaction and retrospective exposure to nine ACEs. Results: Almost half of participants (46.4 %) had suffered at least one ACE and 8.3 % had suffered four or more. Adjusted odds ratios (AORs) for low life satisfaction and low mental well-being increased with the number of ACEs. AORs for low ratings of all individual SWEMWBS components also increased with ACE count, particularly never or rarely feeling close to others. Of individual ACEs, growing up in a household affected by mental illness and suffering sexual abuse had the most relationships with markers of mental well-being. Conclusions: Childhood adversity has a strong cumulative relationship with adult mental well-being. Comprehensive mental health strategies should incorporate interventions to prevent ACEs and moderate their impacts from the very earliest stages of life.
Simon Russell, Professor Karen Hughes, Professor Mark Bellis
BMJ Open, 2016.
Abstract: Objectives: To examine the relative contribution of childhood experience, measured by childhood violence and childhood happiness, and adult well-being on adult eating preferences and behaviours, independent of proximal factors such as current deprivation. Design: A cross-sectional, stratified, randomised sample survey using retrospective measures of childhood violence and happiness and self-reported measures of current well-being. Setting: The North West Region of England between September 2012 and March 2013. Participants: Individuals aged 18–95-year-olds from randomly selected households ( participation was successful for 90% of eligible households and 78% of the total visited addresses; n=11 243). Outcomes: Dichotomised measures for preference of healthy foods or ‘feel good’ foods and low or high daily fruit and vegetable consumption. Results: After correcting for demographics, combined categories for childhood experience and dichotomised measures of adult well-being were found to be significantly related to adult food preferences and eating behaviours. Participants with unhappy and violent childhoods compared to those with happy and non-violent childhoods had adjusted ORs (95% CI, significance) of 2.67 (2.15 to 3.06, p<0.001) of having low daily fruit and vegetable intake (two or less portions) and 1.53 (1.29 to 1.81, p<0.001) of choosing ‘feel good’ foods over foods which were good for their long term health. Conclusions: Daily intake of fruit and vegetables, linked to non-communicable diseases, and preference for ‘feel good’ foods, linked to obesity, are affected by childhood experience and adult well-being independent of demographic factors. Preventative interventions which support parent–child relationships and improve childhood experience are likely to reduce the development of poor dietary and other health-risk behaviours.
A scoping review to understand the effectiveness of linking schemes from healthcare providers to community resources to improve the health and well-being of people with long-term conditions
Rahena Mossabir, Rebecca Morris, Anne Kennedy, Dr Christian Blickem, Anne Rogers
Health & Social Care in the Community Volume 23, Issue 5, pages 467–484, September, 2015.
Abstract: The prevalence of people living with long-term conditions is increasing, accompanied by an increased expectation that patients will become more involved in self-management. Long-term conditions are associated with increased social isolation and poor physical and mental health. But there remains a gap in health provision between providing medical treatment and effectively addressing psychosocial well-being. One potential way of addressing this gap is by utilising social interventions which link patients from health services to community-based sources of support. However, the mechanisms involved in the delivery of interventions providing that link and their effectiveness remain unclear. This review adopted the methodological framework for conducting scoping studies, searching for both academic and grey literature on social interventions which link people from healthcare settings to a range of community and voluntary sector organisations. A literature search between May and June 2013, involving five electronic databases, hand searching of two journals and the use of Google search engine, identified seven studies relevant to the review question. In terms of key characteristics and mechanisms of the interventions, mental health conditions and social isolation were the most common reasons for referral to the interventions, and referrals were usually made through general practices. Almost all the interventions were facilitator-led, whereby the facilitator worked to identify and link participants to appropriate community-based resources. In regard to health and social outcomes and their cost-effectiveness, studies reported improvement to participants' psychological and social well-being as well as their decreased use of health services, although there were limited measures of participants' physical health outcomes. Interventions for linking patients from healthcare setting to community-based resources target and address psychosocial needs of participants. The review identified involvement of health professionals in aiding the referral of patients to the intervention and the role of the intervention facilitators as key components of the interventions.