Academic journal article The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health

Public Health Evidence: Tackling Health Inequalities

Academic journal article The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health

Public Health Evidence: Tackling Health Inequalities

Article excerpt

Public health evidence: Tackling health inequalities Edited by Amanda Killoran, Catherine Swann, Michael P Kelly, et al. Published by Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2006. Paperback 608 pp. ISBN 9780198520832

At last! A coherent, comprehensive and well-written compendium of the issues surrounding the vexed question of health inequalities in the UK. The NHS came into being, after all, on the assumption that after a few years health inequalities would all but disappear in Britain. But, even before Marc LaLonde's equal contribution in 1979, it had begun to be realized in public health circles that many non-clinical factors caused clinically diagnosable illnesses. These factors were largely social and psychological - lack of security, unemployment, fraught sexual relationships, and so on, and that while the 'proximal' causes of specific diseases might be traced to bacteria and/or virus, the 'distal' (and often politically controllable) causes were largely non-clinical. The Achesen Report and the growth in popularity of health promotion courses have secured a wide public understanding of these issues. But to address the evidence, and indeed to know where and how to secure the evidence on which coherent public policies can be based, is a problem that has increasingly pre-occupied the minds of public health workers, especially in the developed industrial nations, since the late 1980s.

The text constitutes an admirable contribution to the relevant literature. …

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