Environmental Determinants of Public Health in Scotland (EDPHiS) was a multi-disciplinary collaborative research project which aims to support the development of public policy in Scotland, insofar as these polices may affect public health through people’s interactions with their environment.

In practice, this means EDPHiS has been working closely with and supporting the Good Places, Better Health (GPBH) initiative of the Scottish Government; currently, this initiative is developing a prototype along 4 key health priorities. In this context, EDPHiS contributed to the Intelligence partnership of GPBH.

The relations linking policy, environment, exposure and health are complex and the strength of evidence linking them, and how they are affected by wider social context, is variable and sometimes contested. EDPHiS summarised that evidence and as far as practicable develop a quantitative model of these relationships.

It then linked this necessarily limited model with data on demography, environment, health and other factors in Scotland, to predict the public health consequences of proposed actions that, intentionally or not, may affect health via people’s interaction with their environments.

The work of EDPHiS focused on the priority health outcomes of GPBH in its prototype period. These are

  • (i) obesity,
  • (ii) unintentional injury,
  • (iii) mental health and wellbeing and
  • (iv) asthma

in children, all at ages up to 9 years of age. In doing so we did pay particular attention to initiatives and actions of the Scottish Government’s work to understand and underpin Sustainable Places; and to how possible actions may affect not only health overall, but also inequalities in health.