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Closing the health inequalities gap

an international perspective

Crombie, I.K., Irvine, L., Elliott, L., & Wallace, H. (2005). Closing the health inequalities gap: an international perspective. World Health Organization (WHO).

This report presents an analysis of official documents on government policies to tackle inequalities in health from 13 developed countries. All countries recognize that health inequalities are caused by adverse socioeconomic and environmental circumstances. However they differ in their definitions of inequalities and in their approaches to tackling the problem. Sweden and Northern Ireland have structured their overall public health policy to tackle the underlying determinants of inequalities in health. England is the only country with a separate comprehensive policy. Most countries also have policies on poverty, social inclusion, and social justice. These are motivated by a concern for human rights and dignity and deal primarily with the underlying causes of health inequalities. While broadly setting the same overarching goal, policies on health inequalities show many different features. Policymakers face two challenges: to ensure that strategies to tackle the macroenvironmental factors feature in policy on inequalities in health, and to ensure that health becomes a prominent issue in social justice policy. Few countries have a coordinated approach to tackling inequalities in health.

Uitgever(s): World Health Organization (WHO),


Closing the health inequalities gap : an international perspective

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Iain Crombie
Linda Irvine
Lawrence Elliott
Hilary Wallace

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