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Our health is a precious asset. Good health and wellbeing enable us to live happy, fulfilling lives and free us up to achieve our potential.  

But we don’t all have the same opportunities to live healthy lives. Right now, in parts of the UK, people are dying years earlier than they should. 

Building a healthy society is like constructing a sturdy building. To succeed, we need all the right building blocks in place.

Scroll down or click to explore the building blocks: 

our surroundings | housing | money and resources | food

transport | family friends and community | work | education and skills

You can also download the infographics to use in your own presentations.

The building blocks of good health

In too many of our communities, these building blocks are missing or crumbling. When we don’t have what we need to heat our homes or buy healthy food, for example, and are constantly worrying about making ends meet, it can lead to chronic stress, poor health and lives being cut short.  

But change is possible. By improving things like access to good-quality jobs, developing affordable homes, reducing poverty and making healthy food more accessible, we can – and must – fix the gaps and build better health for all our communities. 

How do our surroundings influence our health?

Where we live can shape our health, including how long we can expect to live. 

But inequalities between local areas restrict people’s opportunities to live a healthy life, from the air people breathe to the goods available to buy locally.

For good health, a neighbourhood needs...

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How does housing influence our health?

We all need somewhere to call home – not just walls and a roof but a secure, stable, safe place to grow up and live in. ​

Our homes influence our health in many ways, both physically and mentally. 

Good housing should be...

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How do our money and resources influence our health?

Money and resources are essential for good health as they unlock access to other building blocks of health, such as good-quality housing and participation in society. ​

Not having enough money and resources can make it hard to save and to feel in control of our circumstances, which can lead to poor health.

Having enough money and resources means we’re able to have...

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How does the food we eat influence our health?

Nutritious food is vital for our health and wellbeing, and for children’s development, but for too many of us it’s not accessible or affordable.​

Food that’s high in fat, salt and sugar is often readily available and cheaper than healthier options, and eating this kind of food regularly can cause obesity and other health problems.

Healthy food should be...

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How does transport influence our health?

Available, reliable and affordable transport supports the other building blocks of good health, such as connecting us to work and public services. ​

If we don’t have access to good transport, it limits ​our options and opportunities for work, leisure and community participation, which can have a negative impact on our quality of life. 

Good transport options and infrastructure can enable...

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How do our family, friends and community influence our health?

Family, friends and communities are the cornerstone of our everyday lives and play an important role in shaping our health and wellbeing.​

The nature of our social networks – the quality of our relationships, the support we have, whether we feel we belong where we live, whether we feel lonely – can influence our health and wellbeing in a range of ways.​

We all need...

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How does work influence our health?

Access to good-quality jobs is one of the building blocks of a healthy life and a healthy society. ​

It’s not just about being paid enough and having enough money to meet basic needs – a good-quality job benefits our health in other ways too. 

Good work should provide...

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How do our education and skills influence our health?

A good education is a strong foundation for a decent quality of life. Along with the skills we learn and develop, it influences our prospects for where we live and work, and for our health. 

Infographics on education and health will be released later in 2024. 

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We want our series of infographics to be a useful resource to help change the conversation about what builds good health. You are welcome to download, save and share them for education and non-commercial use. Please make sure that no modifications are made and that the Health Foundation and the source are clearly acknowledged in full.

If you have any further questions about using our resources in your work, please get in touch at website@health.org.uk

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