Many of the key health behaviours significant to the development of chronic disease follow the social gradient: smoking, obesity, lack of physical activity, unhealthy nutrition. The importance of investing in the early years is key to preventing ill health later in life, as is investing in healthy schools and healthy employment as well as more traditional forms of ill-health prevention such as drug treatment and smoking cessation programmes.
We put prevention in the context of the social determinants of health, hence, all our recommendations require involvement of a range of stakeholders. Public services all have the potential to help or hinder ill-health prevention. The evidence shows that partnership working between primary care, local authorities and the third sector to deliver effective universal and targeted preventive interventions can bring important benefits.