Many things affect our health. 

When we are healthy and happy, we feel in control of our lives, well connected with the people around us and unhindered by illness or injury.  Staying healthy is, for those dealt a good hand by society, relatively easy. For others, the deck is stacked differently. 

Family genes also determine our health. So, in a very big way, do the friends we keep, the interests we pursue, and the choices we make about what to eat and drink. These are things we have a degree of choice about.   The schools, jobs, shops, housing, transport and health services we have access to - and how safe we feel in our neighbourhood - also have a big impact on our health.   We also have some control over these elements.

Public health awards

The economy, the environment, technology and social trends are all factors we have very little control over.

Individual lifestyle factors

The things that affect our health - as represented in the diagram - and the choice or control we exercise over them, are not evenly distributed across the population.  The differences between the good health and well-being generally experienced by affluent sections of the population and the sickness, unhappiness, and earlier death experienced by the poorest are known as health inequalities.  Inequalities caused by human action, are, by definition, unjust and avoidable.

“The fact that in England today, people in different social circumstances experience differences in health, well-being and length of life is quite simply unfair”

Professor Sir Michael Marmot, 2010 

This does not mean that everyone who lives in an affluent area is healthy, or that everyone who lives in a poor area is unhealthy.  But at a population level, patterns are very clear.  There is correlation between low income, poor housing, low educational attainment, unemployment, and poor health.


Measuring Change

All action that reduces inequalities is worth taking.  Providing a service that was previously missing, such as helping disadvantaged young people to play regular sport, is a positive step.  Sometimes, we also want to know ‘what else?’.  What are the additional health benefits for the individuals and communities taking part?

Low activity loners

Increased Activity Levels

To measure changes in overall activity levels, we use the validated ‘Physical Activity Questionnaire for Older Children and Adolescents (PAQ-C)’ as recommended by the Public Health England’s Obesity Observatory  We created an online version of PAQ-C for ease of completion.

Case Study

At our Let’s Get Fizzical project, running in central Birmingham since 2010, 73% of participants had maintained or increased their physical activity levels 9 months after the intervention

Better Resilience

Measuring resilience, or the ability to cope with stressful times, is important. We know that resilient individuals and families do much better, in health, education and employment terms.  To measure changes in resilience, we used the NPC Wellbeing Measure

Case Study

A small survey of our StreetGames Young Volunteers in 2013 showed a 20% increase in resilience (and a 40% increase in life satisfaction) after 6 months of volunteering in Doorstep Sport.

Improved Wellbeing

50% of lifetime mental health problems start by the age of 14, and 75% by the age of 24.  Protecting and promoting mental health and wellbeing during adolescence and through transition to adulthood is critical.  Sport plays a powerful role.  The Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale is validated for use from age 13 upwards.

Case Study

Roxanne’s Mental Health Worker referred her to the Us Girls Alive project in Chorley.  Initially experiencing very low confidence and isolation (rarely leaving her house alone), she is now a regular attendee.  She says, “I feel stronger physically but more than that, my mind is strong now too.”

You can make a difference

Sport brings huge benefits to young people’s lives. Even a small donation helps us to make those benefits available to our most disadvantaged communities.

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