Giving Compass' Take:

· Sophie Hawkesworth at Wellcome discusses a new approach to using public health funding in order to address non-communicable diseases such as cancer and obesity: more research and educating the public on their bad habits.

· What research is needed to fully understand and improve the drivers that lead to poor health? What programs can be employed to help the public break their bad habits? 

· Read more about this topic and how junk food has become a public health crisis

Through the UK Prevention Research Partnership, we are supporting researchers to work with experts outside of health to prevent the rise of non-communicable diseases. Sophie Hawkesworth explains more.

The main causes of premature death in the UK are behaviours that we all recognise as unhealthy – smoking, poor diet, drinking alcohol and being inactive. But simply educating people on the links between these behaviours and conditions such as cancer, heart disease, obesity and diabetes is insufficient to change habits.

Our individual behaviours and responses are driven by a web of influences that range from biological to economic and cultural. For example, our food choices can be influenced by government pricing policies or the number of fast-food restaurants we pass on the way home from work. Our physical activity levels can depend on local transport links or access to green spaces.

Public health issues that arise due to these drivers are often termed 'wicked problems' because they are the result of complex, interwoven factors that can seem insurmountable.

Read the full article about public health funding by Sophie Hawkesworth at Wellcome.