FEATURE21 June 2021

Sir Michael Marmot on the need to ‘build back fairer’

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Covid-19 Features Healthcare Impact People UK Wellbeing

In the latest of our In Seven series, we speak to Sir Michael Marmot, professor of epidemiology at University College London (UCL), director of the UCL Institute of Health Equity, and past president of the World Medical Association. He has led research groups on health inequalities for more than 40 years.

Sir Michael Marmot

1 ) You have noted that housing is a food issue because, if you can’t afford rent, how can you eat healthily? Is research too siloed to make connections between issues such as healthy eating and housing, or wellbeing and the environment?

Commonly, I am asked what one thing I would recommend to reduce health inequalities. A key reason for my refusing to answer that question is precisely because of the interconnections. Income is a housing question. Housing is a food question. Food insecurity is part of poverty.

We do need specific policies, but we need to look at them in the context of the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age.

2 ) Data is in the spotlight like never before – has Covid-19 helped or hindered our relationship with evidence?

The pandemic has shown how reliant we are on good-quality data and, in the UK at least, how blessed we are to have such high-quality data systems.

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