Intended for healthcare professionals


How family friendly is the UK?

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 04 August 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d4823

Overpopulation and family health

Professor Caan writes that The United Nations Educational, Scientific
and Cultural Organization presented a plan to parliament on new green
landscapes for a civil society, and many parents would welcome more family
friendly parks and gardens to enjoy with their children.1

Where? England is a very small country and yet it had a population of
62,445,709 people at the start of 2011. This is roughly the same
population as very much larger France and Italy.

Caan lists the family benefits of living in countries with small
populations such as The Netherlands (16.7 million), Switzerland (7.8
million), Norway (5 million) and Iceland (0.3 million).

Can all families be healthy on an overcrowded small island?
Politicians have an impossible task if there is overpopulation, unplanned
pregnancies and inadequate preconception, pregnancy or child care.

We ignore these impediments to family health in a finite world at our

1 Caan W. How family friendly is the UK. BMJ 2011; 343:d4823

Competing interests: No competing interests

11 August 2011
Ellen C. Grant
Retired physician and medical Gynaecologist
Kingston-upon-Thames, KT2 7JU