Wellbeing and health policy

Some information on why wellbeing is relevant to health policy.


A summary of key points

Developing well: 6 to 11 years

Developing well: 11 to 19 years

Living well

Working well

Aging well

Wellbeing and longevity

What works to improve wellbeing?


These documents give a flavour of some of the important issues and relationships between wellbeing and health throughout someone’s life. This is a growing and changing area so these documents can only give information about some of the material available now. For health professionals, understanding the different parts of personal wellbeing may offer insights into how their own work fits into a wider context and how what they do can influence wellbeing.

Important findings are that wellbeing:

  • adds years to life and improves recovery from illness
  • is associated with positive health behaviours in adults and childrens
  • is associated with broader positive results
  • influences the wellbeing and mental health of those close to us
  • affects how staff and health care providers work with implications for decisions for patient care practises and services, and treatment decisions and costs
  • affects decisions about local services
  • may ultimately reduce the healthcare burden

The ‘‘Wellbeing and why it matters’ slidepack provides an overview and complements the factsheets, which focus on specific areas. This is not a comprehensive review of the literature but we are confident that many of the most important themes have been identified.

When the documents refer to wellbeing, this relates to subjective or personal wellbeing. The documents sometimes refer to objective wellbeing or results and influencers of wellbeing, to add extra information.

The evidence is largely from published, peer reviewed documents and each factsheet provides references for readers wishing to follow up the literature in more detail. The documents have all been peer reviewed by independent experts.

Published 6 February 2014