Population health

We undertake research and produce recommendations on a variety of public and population health issues. See what we are working on.

Public Health Article Illustration

Antimicrobial resistance

Antimicrobial resistance

We believe a one health approach is needed across human medicine, veterinary practice and agriculture to tackle the threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Child health

Child and young people's health

The BMA has a longstanding interest in child health and the impact of social inequalities on health outcomes for children and young people.

Growing up in the UK: ensuring a healthy future for our children

Our keystone report concluded that we are failing our most vulnerable children, and expressed major concerns about the effects of poverty and social inequalities on child health and wellbeing in the UK.

Growing up in the UK 2016 review

Three years on from our 2013 report, we undertook a review of the developments in child health since its publication.

Autism spectrum disorder

It is estimated that around 700,000 people in the UK have a diagnosis of autism. One in 100 children in the UK have a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. We have raised concerns about the time it takes for diagnosis, as well as specific issues with the support offered in England.

Cutting away at our children’s futures: how austerity is affecting the health of children, young people and families

A report focusing on the impact of austerity and welfare reforms on children, young people and families.

Supporting a healthy childhood: the need for greater investment in services

A safe, supportive and happy childhood environment is widely understood to be vital for a child's development, health and wellbeing over the short- and long-term.

Drivers of ill health

Improving the nation’s diet: action for a healthier future

To effectively respond to the public health challenge of diet-related ill health, a range of actions are required across the UK.

Reducing alcohol-related harm in England

A wide-ranging approach to reducing alcohol-related harm is needed covering the availability, affordability and marketing of alcohol as well as support for healthcare professionals.

Alcohol and pregnancy: preventing and managing fetal alcohol spectrum disorders

In an update to our 2007 report, we outline the responsibilities of healthcare professionals and policy makers to improve the prevention, diagnosis and management of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

E-cigarettes: balancing risks and opportunities

This paper discusses the regulation of e-cigarettes and argues for an approach that seeks to minimise their risks while maximising their potential to reduce the health burden associated with smoking.


The BMA has a long history supporting measures to reduce tobacco-related harm and have wide-ranging policies aimed at strengthening tobacco control and helping smokers to quit.

Climate change and air pollution

In the coming decades Climate Change and Air Pollution will be the two of the biggest global public health challenges. Tackling them will be vital to the safeguarding of public and planetary health. 

Health inequalities

Health at a price: reducing the impact of poverty

Within the healthcare setting, action can be taken in a range of ways to help reduce the impact on health, and doctors can play a key role in supporting action in this area.

Health in all policies: health, austerity and welfare reform

This briefing aims to support doctors’ advocacy role in protecting health during times of austerity, setting out the potential harms to health of austerity and the action needed to prevent them occurring.


Improving immunisation coverage rates across the UK

The BMA strongly supports vaccination programmes as a key intervention for improving population health. Read our view on what action is needed to improve coverage rates.

Mental health

Beyond parity of esteem report

Achieving parity of resource, access and outcome for mental health in England

The impact of COVID-19 on mental health in England

Our paper outlines the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on population mental health and calls for improvements to mental health services to ensure they can respond to needs of the population.

Prescription and illicit drugs

Cannabis-based medicinal products

What constitutes cannabis-based products for medicinal use, who can prescribe them, and under what circumstances.

Chronic pain: supporting safer prescribing of analgesics

This briefing paper was first published in 2017 and highlights some of the key issues surrounding the use of analgesics in the management of patients with chronic pain.

Improving analgesic use to support pain management at the end of life

This briefing focuses on promoting adequate access to pain relief for patients at the end of life, including exploring the attitudes of doctors and patients towards the prescribing of strong analgesics to control pain.

Drugs of dependence - the role of medical professionals

This report was first published in 2013 and seeks to open and refocus the debate on drug treatment and drug policy through the eyes of the medical profession.

Prescribed drugs associated with dependence and withdrawal

Prescribing of psychoactive drugs is a major clinical activity and a key therapeutic tool for influencing the health of patients. But often their use can lead to a patient becoming dependent or suffering withdrawal symptoms.

Preventing ill health

Steps to increase physical activity levels in the UK

This briefing examines the current low levels of physical activity in the UK and the significant inequalities that exist in levels of physical activity within the population.

Prevention before cure: prioritising population health

We set out our framework for a cross-government approach to prioritising population health to ensure the long-term sustainability of the NHS.

Growing older in the UK: a series of briefings on ageing and health

We explore a range of topics relevant to supporting and improving people’s health and wellbeing as they grow older in the UK.

Women's health

Cancer in women

We examine the increase in cancer incidence in women, preventable risk factors amongst deprived women, and highlight the role of health professionals in helping women to recognise signs and symptoms of cancer.

Women's mental health

We explain why policies, services and practices need to be gender informed, co-designed by women, and underpinned by clear leadership and accountability.

Tackling violence against women

We outline the scale of the problem of gender-based violence and the role of healthcare professionals in identifying abuse and referring cases.

Health inequalities and women

We call for greater understanding of the effect of social and economic factors on women's lives by the health workforce.

Global women's health

We outline key issues in international women's health and improvements that could be made through improved quality and access to healthcare.

Sanitary product provision for inpatients

The BMA has called for an end to period poverty across the UK. We successfully campaigned to secure sanitary product provision in hospitals across the UK. Find out more about our work.

Reproductive health and wellbeing

We highlight the importance of reproductive health to wellbeing, recognise the variation and differentiation in women's reproductive healthcare needs over the life-course, and call for an integrated health system response.