Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Getting to grips with the health gap

23.01.2007
Tackling health inequalities in Britain needs closer co-ordination between all major policy areas including health, education, housing, employment and taxation, according to the authors of a new Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) publication.

Developing the Evidence for Tackling Health Inequalities and Differential Effects, which accompanied a seminar organised jointly with the Department of Health, says that despite major advances in health care and overall improvements in health there is still a yawning gap between different social groups. There are serious differences between affluent and disadvantaged groups - including ethnic minority groups - in rates of obesity, high blood pressure, accidents and smoking.

The report emphasises that poor health is not simply about individual bad habits, in terms of junk food, drugs, alcohol and cigarettes and lack of exercise. Poor health, and the health inequalities that often result, are rooted in broader inequalities between rich and poor, with social disadvantage linked to a poor start in life, early school leaving, and poor living and working conditions in adulthood, the researchers say.

Hilary Graham, Professor of Health Sciences at the University of York who is leading the Department of Health’s Public Health Research Consortium, emphasises the importance of including the right information when evaluating interventions in fields such as education and young people, employment and crime, housing and child protection. ‘It is important to include information on people’s health and lifestyles in evaluations of new initiatives and policies to tackle social disadvantage and exclusion. This will provide a baseline for seeing which social initiatives are making a difference to the health gap.’ However, she warns that it may take time for changes to show their effects: ‘Policies introduced ten, 20 or even 50 years ago will be influencing the effects of initiatives introduced today.’

Describing the development of the public health evidence base and evidence based guidance, Professor Mike Kelly, Director of the Centre for Public Health Excellence (CPHE) at NICE, says that the Health Development Agency produced a series of Evidence Briefings on health inequalities and the effectiveness of interventions between 2000-2005. The briefings covered a range of topics including the promotion of physical activity and breastfeeding and measures to prevent drug and alcohol misuse, teenage pregnancy and accidental injury. However, he says there are some surprising gaps in the evidence. ‘For instance, there is little review level evidence about the sexual behaviour of young heterosexual males and its impact on rates of teenage fertility and little work has been done on social exclusion and the transmission of HIV/AIDS.’

NICE involves practitioners in producing public health guidance to improve the likelihood of it being implemented. NICE’s public health guidance is field tested of health visitors, school nurses, teachers and medical practitioners as well as undergoing a consultation with stakeholders.

The report also provides an overview of the Government’s approach to health inequalities, including key reports and initiatives since 1997. Maggie Rae and Ray Earwicker (Department of Health) say that evidence has informed policy development on health inequalities since the ground-breaking Acheson report published in 1998. The debate on the evidence base for public health interventions has gathered momentum in the last couple of years, notably since the release of the Wanless review in 2004. This has highlighted the need for more research related to inequalities.

Brief summaries of some of the approaches used by researchers to build the evidence base on which interventions might tackle the health gap are also provided in the report.

The examples include:

- an evaluation of the effectiveness of Stop Smoking Services

- an overview of tobacco control interventions and their effectiveness on social inequalities in health

- a study on how data from an assessment of the New Deal for Communities can be used to inform policy on health inequalities

- an examination of the differential social effects of national tobacco control policies and

- a project to identify priorities for new systematic reviews and new primary studies addressing health inequalities.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Professor Hilary Graham on 01904 321349, e-mail: hmg501@york.ac.uk
Professor Mike Kelly on 0207 067 5800, e-mail: mike.kelly@nice.org.uk
ESRC Press Office
Alexandra Saxon Tel: 01793 413032/07971027335, e-mail: alexandra.saxon@esrc.ac.uk

Annika Howard Tel: 01793 413119, e-mail: annika.howard@esrc.ac.uk

Annika Howard | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esrc.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Cholesterol-lowering drugs may fight infectious disease
22.08.2017 | Duke University

nachricht Once invincible superbug squashed by 'superteam' of antibiotics
22.08.2017 | University at Buffalo

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

What the world's tiniest 'monster truck' reveals

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Treating arthritis with algae

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Witnessing turbulent motion in the atmosphere of a distant star

23.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>