For at least 40 years, research evidence has been accumulating that societies with bigger income differences between rich and poor tend to have worse health and higher homicide rates. More recently, this has been contextualised by observations that more unequal societies not only suffer higher rates of poor health and violence, but also of other outcomes which tend to be worse lower down the social ladder – including teenage births, lower maths and literacy scores, obesity and imprisonment. (1)
Thirty years ago, the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion generated worldwide interest in a new public health approach based on the promotion of healthy public policies, environments conducive to health, inclusive public services and community and individual action. Thirty years later we have a clearer understanding of the relationships between politics, public policy and health but are still battling against the odds to realise its aims.
On Tuesday night The Equality Trust, in partnership with UNISON, held an event on health inequalities, featuring Professor Sir Michael Marmot in discussion with Professors Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson.