Chapter

Socioeconomic inequalities in health in high-income countries: The facts and the options

Johan P. Mackenbach

in Oxford Textbook of Public Health

Fifth edition

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780199218707
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199609673 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780199218707.003.0093

Series: Oxford Textbooks

Socioeconomic inequalities in health in high-income countries: The facts and the options

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Socioeconomic inequalities in health have been studied extensively in past decades. In all high-income countries with available data, mortality and morbidity rates are higher among those in less advantaged socioeconomic positions, and as a result differences in health expectancy between socioeconomic groups typically amount to 10 years or more. Good progress has been made in unravelling the determinants of health inequalities, and a number of specific determinants (particularly material, psychosocial and lifestyle factors) have been identified which probably contribute to explaining health inequalities in many high-income countries. Although further research is necessary, our understanding of what causes health inequalities has progressed to a stage when rational approaches to reduce health inequalities are becoming feasible. Although different countries are in widely different phases of awareness of, and willingness to take action on, health inequalities, several European countries have endeavoured to develop comprehensive policy programmes to tackle health inequalities.

Chapter.  15415 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology ; Public Health

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