How Living On The Coast Is Linked To Poor Health

How Living On The Coast Is Linked To Poor Health
Hastings: living by the seaside often means fewer opportunities. Ian Woolcock/Shutterstock

The precarious economies of many traditional seaside towns have declined still further since the 1970s when an explosion of cheap holiday flights and package tours to Spain and Greece took away swathes of their summer trade. “Turkey and Tinsel” weekends still draw the odd coach, but cannot keep a town afloat. Although UK seaside resorts are having a booking spike this year because of the pandemic, a boost to the economy over a single summer will not make a major difference to health or economies long term.

Their residents’ worsening health and wellbeing – and lack of health provision – is gradually becoming visible to government and the media, thanks in large part to England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty. His Chief Medical Officer Report for 2021: Health in Coastal Communities sets out a stark picture of poor health and low life expectancy for those who live in many English coastal towns.

Economy and poor health linked

Public Health England data confirm the wide range of health indicators that are systematically worse in seaside towns. These include coronary heart disease, stroke, chronic pulmonary (lung) disease, diabetes and mental health conditions. Breastfeeding rates are lower and more pregnant women smoke. This is not surprising. High quality jobs are a key route to improving mental and physical health, giving up smoking, and accessing lifestyles that build in healthier patterns of leisure activities, nutrition and transport.

Economic and structural drivers of health are key to explaining low life expectancy and high rates of chronic illness adjacent to striking coastal scenery. A 2019 report by a House of Lords select committee set out the economic, educational and connectivity disadvantages faced by seaside towns, emphasising the need to build careers for young people. The inequalities think tank Resolution Foundation evidenced a longstanding and growing earnings deficit which worsened further between 2017 and 2019, before being hit particularly hard by Covid-19.

Seaside towns’ excess of accommodation makes them attractive to distant councils and central government as cheap places to relocate vulnerable city dwellers and international migrants. Many looked-after-children are placed in Kent, far from their boroughs of origin mostly in London. The share of the population over 65 years is higher in coastal towns than in other areas.

So how can young people (and older people) in coastal areas access higher quality jobs? And what can be done about the severe and longstanding NHS workforce shortages in most coastal areas. After all, educational outcomes are worse in seaside towns compared to urban settings.

Few jobs in seaside towns require graduate level skills – take a look at the Nomis website, which shows employment opportunities by area. However, universities in the larger seaside towns and cities do train a range of healthcare professionals, from nurses to paramedics to doctors.

But not all seaside towns are the same. Brighton, once dilapidated and forlorn, built a digital and creative economy drawing on the ready supply of skilled labour from its two universities. This is not the kind of community the CMO Report is talking about – it’s not an option for Clacton, Hastings, Blackpool or Thanet.

UK higher education is built predominantly on relocating young adults away from family and support networks to a distant metropolis. Universities are nearly all located in large cities. So an academically oriented seaside teenager like my former self quickly learns that “doing well” means leaving their family and community behind for good. For many this is a real personal loss. The higher wages paid for graduate level skills are unlikely to be available locally.

What could change?

Health professions, and teaching, are an exception – these professions are needed everywhere. So why do seaside towns with high unemployment have NHS staff shortages? Swale and Thanet, in north Kent not far from London, have the lowest ratios of GPs to population in England. Why don’t their children train as health care professionals?

Small town seaside children do meet GPs and other community health professionals – many live near a district general hospital. But the full range of healthcare jobs is much less visible than in a city with large tertiary care services, where NHS work is concentrated. Access to these professions is a challenge.

Living in an economy dominated by lower paid jobs, young people from seaside towns are less likely than their wealthier urban peers to have the personal connections that facilitate highly rated work experience. Public transport and road connections to places with more highly paid jobs are often limited, time consuming and expensive. And their parents often earn less.

Entry to health professional courses is competitive. Any child at a seaside school with weak exam results is at a serious disadvantage. So seaside children are less likely to get into those courses, even if committed to a shortage role in a locality close to family and social networks. This vicious cycle will continue unless we can find a way to support young people into local health jobs. If we can work out a way to do this at scale it could go some way to addressing both health and economic disadvantages in coastal communities.

About The Author

Jackie Cassell, Professor of Primary Care Epidemiology, Honorary Consultant in Public Health, Brighton and Sussex Medical School

This article originally appeared on The Conversation

 


 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration

You May Also Like

INNERSELF VOICES

internet company logos
Why Google, Facebook and The Internet are Failing Humanity and Little Critters
by Robert Jennings, InnerSelf.com
What is increasingly obvious is the dark side that is engulfing the internet and is spreading…
Full moon in the night sky
Horoscope Current Week: October 18 - 24, 2021
by Pam Younghans
This weekly astrological journal is based on planetary influences, and offers perspectives and…
girl wearing a Covid mask outside carrying a backpack
Are You Ready to Take Off Your Mask?
by Alan Cohen
Sadly, the Covid pandemic has been a rough ride for lots of people. At some point, the ride will be…
girl wearing a hat deep in thought
Putting A New Spin On Our Thoughts and Experiences
by Jude Bijou
What goes on in the world, just is the way it is. How we interpret other people, things, and…
illustration of a film strip with various scenic pictures on each frame
Designing a New Future for Yourself
by Carl Greer PhD, PsyD
In the physical world, things have a past and a future, a beginning, and an end. For example, I’m…
teacher standing in front of students in an open classroom
Becoming Passionate About Public Education Again
by Robert Jennings, InnerSelf.com
We are almost all lucky to have someone in our lives to encourage and motivate us and try to show…
people walking and bicycling through a park
Finding Your Way and Flowing with The Mystery of Life
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com
Life. It's something we all have in common, no matter our religion, our race, our gender, our…
Flower growing through a chain-link fence
So Many Questions... So Many Answers?
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com
We go through life with so many questions. Some are simple. What day is it? What will I have for…
Shining the Light on The Jewel in the Lotus
Shining the Light on The Jewel in the Lotus
by Alan Cohen
A website or any new profession, relationship, or step ahead in life is an excellent projective…
Give the Gift of Kindness and Move Towards Love and Connection
Give the Gift of Kindness and Move Towards Love and Connection
by Jude Bijou
Kindness shows itself in a lot of ways, such as acts of compassion, helpfulness, empathy,…
Against All Odds … Hanging on to Hope
Against All Odds … Hanging on to Hope
by Barry Vissell
In the 2000 movie, Where the Heart Is, seventeen year old Novalee Nation (played by Natalie…

MOST READ

How Living On The Coast Is Linked To Poor Health
How Living On The Coast Is Linked To Poor Health
by Jackie Cassell, Professor of Primary Care Epidemiology, Honorary Consultant in Public Health, Brighton and Sussex Medical School
The precarious economies of many traditional seaside towns have declined still further since the…
The Most Common Issues for Earth Angels: Love, Fear, and Trust
The Most Common Issues for Earth Angels: Love, Fear, and Trust
by Sonja Grace
As you experience being an earth angel, you will discover that the path of service is riddled with…
How Can I Know What's Best For Me?
How Can I Know What's Best For Me?
by Barbara Berger
One of the biggest things I've discovered working with clients everyday is how extremely difficult…
What Men’s Roles In 1970s Anti-sexism Campaigns Can Teach Us About Consent
What Men’s Roles In 1970s Anti-sexism Campaigns Can Teach Us About Consent
by Lucy Delap, University of Cambridge
The 1970s anti-sexist men’s movement had an infrastructure of magazines, conferences, men’s centres…
Honesty: The Only Hope for New Relationships
Honesty: The Only Hope for New Relationships
by Susan Campbell, Ph.D.
According to most of the singles I have met in my travels, the typical dating situation is fraught…
Chakra Healing Therapy: Dancing toward the Inner Champion
Chakra Healing Therapy: Dancing toward the Inner Champion
by Glen Park
Flamenco dancing is a delight to watch. A good flamenco dancer exudes an exuberant self-confidence…
Giving Up All Hope Could Be Beneficial For You
Giving Up All Hope Could Be Beneficial For You
by Jude Bijou, M.A., M.F.T.
If you're waiting for a change and frustrated it's not happening, maybe it would be beneficial to…
An Astrologer introduces the Nine Dangers of Astrology
An Astrologer introduces the Nine Dangers of Astrology
by Tracy Marks
Astrology is a powerful art, capable of enhancing our lives by enabling us to understand our own…

follow InnerSelf on

facebook icontwitter iconyoutube iconinstagram iconpintrest iconrss icon

 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration

AVAILABLE LANGUAGES

enafarzh-CNzh-TWdanltlfifrdeeliwhihuiditjakomsnofaplptroruesswsvthtrukurvi

New Attitudes - New Possibilities

InnerSelf.comClimateImpactNews.com | InnerPower.net
MightyNatural.com | WholisticPolitics.com | InnerSelf Market
Copyright ©1985 - 2021 InnerSelf Publications. All Rights Reserved.