Creating healthier environments

We are committed to reshaping different environments and settings so that they support the public’s health

We identified


as having the unhealthiest High Street in the UK

Our report revealed that young people thought


was the most damaging social media app for mental health

Commuting causes around

1 in 4

to increase their consumption of fast food

Our areas of focus

Local communities

We have campaigned for healthier high streets, with a particular focus on the businesses on them, and how they can positively or negatively impact on a local communities’ health and wellbeing. We have developed a Richter Scale of Health to provide local authorities with a means of measuring the healthiness of their high street – based on the extent to which different types of businesses can promote healthy choices, support community cohesion, encourage access to health services and support individual wellbeing.

Our landmark report Health on the High Street, set out to support local authorities to address clustering of unhealthy businesses, reinforce the importance of the public’s health when making planning and licensing decisions and encourage different types of businesses to pay greater consideration to the health of their customers.

Another important part of our work in creating healthier environments has been done in partnership with Well London, through investing in projects led by local people on how they can make their community healthier. We have created programmes to support people living in some of our most deprived areas, by providing practical skills to help others in their community improve their lives.


Many of us commute to work on a daily basis, and the commuting environment can be challenging to our health and wellbeing. Our report, Health in a Hurry, highlights the impact a commuting environment can have on the health and wellbeing of the 24 million of us who travel to work every day. The report emphasised that both mental and physical wellbeing issues – such as increased stress and high blood pressure – are associated with longer commutes, and we continue to campaign for the benefits of active travel. 

Smoke-free spaces

We are committed to working towards the first tobacco-free generation in the UK, and as part of this we support and campaign for the introduction of more smoke-free spaces, especially in locations frequented by young people.

By extending the UK's indoor smoking ban to outdoor public spaces such as beer gardens, public squares, and outside schools and hospitals – and at the same time ensuring smokers have access to less harmful alternative nicotine products such as e-cigarettes – we can support existing smokers to quit and help discourage new smokers from starting.

Online and virtual

Today’s world is increasingly online and so we are focusing on some of the new challenges and opportunities created by the digital age. Our recent report, #Statusofmind, on the impact of social media on young people’s mental health and wellbeing made headlines around the world. It has revealed the many ways in which social media use can have both positive and adverse effects on the mental health of young people.

Through our Young Health Movement, we have set out measures in collaboration with young people to address some of the more negative effects of social media channels, including introducing a pop-up heavy usage warning for users when they exceed a set number of hours on the platform.

Our other strategic priorities

Health at every age

Our vision is to optimise health and wellbeing for all. This covers every age and stage, from giving every child the best start in life, through to providing critical support at key milestones such as the teenage years, ultimately enabling …

Improving the public's health

Our work to improve the public’s health recognises the complex nature of changing behaviour, and that this is often driven by social determinants of health rather than personal choice

Protecting the public’s health

In addition to advances in health protection, the prevention and control of infectious diseases and other threats has provided the opportunity to optimise the public's health

Wider Public Health Workforce

With over 15 million workers including firefighters, hairdressers and postal workers, the wider workforce can support the public’s health in a variety of ways

Working internationally

We work on an international platform, connecting thousands of members from around the world and delivering policy and projects which stimulate global debate

Our Strategic Priorities

Our strategic priorities define and determine our areas of focus so that we can maximise our impact and the delivery of our mission