Improving housing to improve health – warmth and space are key

Key message: Housing needs to have adequate space and be maintained at a comfortable indoor temperature to promote health. Improving warmth in the home can lead to better health, especially for those with inadequate warmth and with chronic respiratory disease.

Do our homes affect our health? Of course! Strong links between poor housing and poor health are well established. So improving housing conditions may improve the health of the people who live there, right? That seems a reasonable assumption, but it’s not quite so simple as it first seems. Poor housing is often one strand in a web of factors linked with poor health, such as poverty, pre-existing poor health and old age, and they can be tricky to untangle. There are also contextual factors to consider; temperature control as an influence on health may be about adequate warmth in colder countries but keeping people cool in hotter climates. Continue reading


Guest blog: Slum upgrading – improving health and wellbeing?

This guest blog was written by Dr Ruhi Saith, a Research Fellow based in New Delhi and an author of the review from the Cochrane Public Health Group on which this blog is based.

Globally over one billion slum dwellers reside in informal housing and according to UN predications this figure will increase to 1.4 billion by 2020. Whilst progress towards the UN millennium goals, which aim to improve the lives of slum dwellers, is being made, slum improvements have failed to keep pace with the growing ranks of the urban poor. Continue reading