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BELFAST: Profiling Health, Wellbeing & Prosperity

25th May 2022

Belfast Healthy Cities launches City Profile on health & wellbeing trends across the city 

A profile which takes an in-depth look at the health and well-being of Belfast has been launched today by Belfast Healthy Cities. BELFAST Profiling Health, Wellbeing & Prosperity’ examines the data associated with the World Health Organization (WHO) European Healthy Cities Network Phase VII (2019-2025) 6 P framework, People, Place, Prosperity, Peace, Participation and Planet. The profile analyses data across these six areas, looking at trends and highlighting areas of concern. 


While much of the data have been available previously in some form, BELFAST Profiling Health, Wellbeing & Prosperity collates and presents the data in an accessible, concise, and integrated format, as well as identifying the trends across the city. 


This City Profile follows from one published in 2008, Divided by Health, and aims to highlight the interlinkage of data across indicators such as education and employment, participation in sport and culture, environment, all of which have an impact on health, as well as health data. Having all these determinants of health and wellbeing together is an invaluable asset for stakeholders and policymakers in devising and targeting policies, programmes, and services to improve the health and wellbeing of all Belfasts citizens, in addressing existing inequalities and mitigating against the potential of introducing new inequalities at individual, community, and city levels.  


The reporting on the thousands of indicators and the interpretation and linkage of these indicators across the six chapters was undertaken by Expert Advisor, Erica Ison and the first chapter, which looks at PEOPLE has also been published. The PEOPLE chapter focuses on changes and trends in demography, population health, early years, adult health and wellbeing and access to care services. It details the health outcomes in Belfast and compares them across the city and measures them against the rest of Northern Ireland. Importantly, it looks at how the trends across indicators are improving or worsening, and these will help those how plan how health and wellbeing services are delivered across the city. 


Speaking at the launch event, Dr Karen Casson, interim Chair of Belfast Healthy Cities, said "We are delighted to launch BELFAST Profiling Health, Wellbeing & Prosperity today. This is an invaluable resource to inform the future direction for all aspects of public health which impact on health and wellbeing. In analysing the data, and identifying important trends, we can see the indicators that are improving in the city but also areas that remain a challenge. Some of these indicators and trends are well known, such as lower life expectancy and health outcomes in areas of the city, but other indicators that impact on health such as employment, education, and crime-related indicators are still challenges in some areas.  Belfast also has higher levels than the rest of Northern Ireland for anxiety and higher hospital admission rates for alcohol- and drug-related causes. 


"The environment has an important role to play in promoting good physical and mental wellbeing.  Belfast is seeing reductions in car journeys and carbon emissions, but these reductions are not at the levels required to tackle climate change. We see positive trends across many of the indicators and the profile will have a key role in encouraging stakeholders and policy makers to take the bold policy decisions that can result in important positive trends over the coming years.”


Belfast Healthy Cities Chief Executive, Joan Devlin, added "The work to bring together so much data, and lay it out in such a clear and informative way is an incredible achievement. I would like to thank Dr Erica Ison, the Profile Advisory Group members and all the organisations who supported this work, including NISRA and NIHE.

We hope that this City Profile will be a springboard to take steps across these indicators to upturn all the trends and improve health and well-being for our citizens. We know there are already significant programmes underway at community level, and these data can bolster work, alongside strategic policy changes that have the potential to transform health inequalities in our city.”


Development of the City Health Profile is a requirement of Belfast being a WHO Healthy City; the main goal of the WHO-led global movement is to make health a priority issue within the social, economic, and political agenda of cities. The overall goal is to engage local governments in processes of political commitment, institutional change, capacity building, partnership planning and innovation to build a strong movement for public health at the local level. Belfast was first designed as a Healthy City in 1998, and just last year it was among the first cities to achieve healthy city status in Phase VII (2019-2025). 


The summary document, Belfast - Profiling Health, Wellbeing & Prosperity can be viewed here.


The full PEOPLE chapter can be viewed here.



BBC Newsline - Watch here.

BBC Good Morning Ulster (Starts at 33:15 mins) - Listen here. 

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