What kinds of policies to reduce health inequalities in the UK do researchers support?

Katherine E Smith, Mor Kandlik Eltanani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Despite a wealth of research and policy initiatives, progress in tackling the UK's health inequalities has been limited. This article explores whether there appears to be consensus among researchers about the kinds of policies likely to reduce health inequalities.

Ninety-nine proposals for addressing health inequalities were identified from multiple sources. Forty-one researchers participated in a survey assessing the extent to which they believed each proposal would reduce health inequalities, based on three criteria. The 20 proposals generating most support were employed in a second stage, in which 92 researchers indicated which proposals they felt would have the greatest impact on reducing health inequalities.

Some consensus exists among researchers about the policy approaches likely to reduce UK health inequalities: a more progressive distribution of income/wealth, greater investment in services for deprived communities, plus regulatory policies to limit the impact of lifestyle-behavioural risks. However, researchers' support for proposals varies depending whether they are asked to express their expert opinion or to comment on the strength of the available evidence.

When consulting researchers about health inequalities, policymakers need to consider whether they are seeking research-informed expertise or assessments of the available evidence; these questions are likely to yield different responses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-17
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Public Health
Issue number1
Early online date30 Aug 2014
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • health inequalities
  • social determinants
  • evidence-based policy


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