Fuel Poverty (Target, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Bill and Fuel Poverty Strategy: health impact assessment

Health Impact Assessment on the policy development of the Fuel Poverty (Target, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Bill and Fuel Poverty Strategy.

6. Impacts on individuals

  • Children –Children from families living in cold homes can have an increased risk of respiratory conditions which will in turn make daily life more difficult. Days off school will increase for these children and participation in some sports may become affected. These factors, along with having no-where warm to undertake their studies can also have a detrimental impact on educational attainment. The stigma associated with living in a cold home may also cause them to become isolated from friends and this can be detrimental during their developmental years.
  • Teenagers – Living in a cold home may cause stigma in teenagers. They may not feel comfortable inviting friends around to their home and this may affect friendships, peer groups and relationships. In the long term this can have an effect on a teenager's confidence and potentially lower their socioeconomic opportunities. Like children, teenagers are also at a higher risk of developing respiratory diseases such as asthma and poor health days can also affect their attendance at school and training and affect their educational attainment.
  • Adults –Living in cold homes are more likely to suffer from minor illnesses such as colds and flus and have increased risk of mortality from cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Minor illness can impact on their daily tasks from taking children to school or going to work. The adult population are the most productive in society and reduced productivity from this cohort can trickle down into the economy as a whole due to lost days from work. Adults with pre-existing conditions such as cardiovascular or circulatory disease, COPD or forms of arthritis are more likely to suffer during the cold weather and this may reduce their ability to maintain their daily lives and negatively damage their physical and mental wellbeing.
  • Older people – Living in a cold home can be detrimental to many older people. With reduced muscle mass and poorer circulation they are not physiologically able to keep warm during cold periods. This can affect their immune systems, amplifies pre-existing health conditions and can have an effect on their mental health. There is a strong relationship between cold homes and cardiovascular and respiratory disease.

Cold homes can also reduce dexterity with older people, who may already be compromised due to age or existing conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and can lead to frailty and falls.


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