Environment

Our physical and social environments are the places where we live, grow, study, play, travel and work. They influence our health, both directly and indirectly, because places where we live actively shape our lives for better and worse.

Direct and well-known influences of the environment on our health include indoor and outdoor air quality, housing, high traffic volume and speed on residential roads, and access to, and availability of, alcohol and food. Indirect influences include how a degraded, littered environment impacts on our mental wellbeing.

Our physical environment also affects our behaviour. We know that the presence or absence of good quality, accessible greenspace influences our levels of physical activity and that parents are more likely to allow their children to walk or cycle to school if there are safe, segregated cycle routes, safe road crossings and lower traffic speeds. Publicly accessible outdoor spaces are important, not just for exercise, but for play, relaxation and socialising. 

In this report card we describe patterns and trends for a selected set of indicators that tell us about the quality of the physical and social environments in which children and young people live. The indicators included are: proximity to derelict land and to greenspace; air quality; mothers smoking during pregnancy; asthma-related hospital admissions; active travel to school; child pedestrian road casualties; and houses in disrepair.

Download the environment children's report card (PDF).

The indicator trends referred to in this report card are available as graphs (PDF).