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Editorials

France shows what has gone wrong in the UK and US

BMJ 2016; 355 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i6520 (Published 08 December 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;355:i6520
  1. Danny Dorling, professor of geography
  1. School of Geography and the Environment, Oxford University, Oxford , UK
  1. danny.dorling{at}ouce.ox.ac.uk

The outcome of the French presidential election, in which the Republican Francois Fillon, Front National’s Marine Le Pen, and the Socialist Party will be vying for position in April 2017, could have wide reaching implications for public health in Europe. Concerns over living standards in France will influence the vote—could income inequality and poor health also influence voting, as it seems to have done in the UK referendum and the US presidential election? Marine Le Pen has already argued that Donald Trump’s victory in the US is a precursor to her own impending success.1

The strongest predictor of a rise in Republican voting for Donald Trump was a decline in the health of the residents in their local area. An age adjusted index showing falls in local life expectancy, obesity, and diabetes—as well as heavy drinking and lack of regular physical activity—best predicted those areas that swung the most to Trump.2

Donald Trump repeatedly cited the UK Brexit vote as a precedent, suggesting that he could win …

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