Worldwide biomedical and social research has been establishing knowledge on key essentials of health and well-being. 1, 2 In general, this knowledge is inadequately applied in public policies, resulting in avoidable health deficits, waste of human potential and costs to society. Remedial measures plainly are required to improve living and working conditions and create social protection policy supportive of all. Formulation of the evidence into practicable ways of living and the minimal costing of these to society and to the individual is relatively straightforward, and we have so far assembled data on healthy living for two UK population groups: adults of working age and older people. We have then ascertained the minimal personal costs these currently would entail, allowing for certain social provisions. This yielded our evidence-based minimum personal income adequate for healthy living (MIHL), which may now be accepted as a definable social determinant of health and, when deficient, poses risks to health and well-being. 3 National statistics indicate that 3.6 million adults in the UK are below this defined MIHL. We submit that a national minimum to increase equality of opportunity for health via such a defined MIHL would be a practicable and readily comprehensible step to improving public health and hopefully reducing prevalent inequalities. MIHL would also provide a benchmark for health in public policy generally on criteria of poverty and safe minimal standards of living. We suggest practical measures in response to today’s challenge that arises from the knowledge on personal essentials for health that is accruing from the phenomenal modern research effort. How can we better apply this knowledge to our populations and all in them? The response at present is unarguably inadequate.