Health Equity 2020

July 2017


There are three main mechanisms through which socioeconomic health inequalities can be reduced:

  1. Reducing the inequalities in socioeconomic position itself, such as education, income, or wealth;
  2. Reducing the negative effect of a low socioeconomic position on health by improving determinants of health that are more prevalent among lower compared to higher socioeconomic groups, including: a. living and working conditions, b. health behaviours, c. accessibility to and quality of health care and preventive services, and;
  3. Reducing the negative social and economic effects of ill health, such as school drop-out, lost job opportunities and reduced income.

As part of the Health Equity 2020 (HE2020) project an Action Database was developed that contains a range of policies, interventions and programmes that aim to reduce socioeconomic health inequalities. Both effective actions and good practices are included.

The database was created through extensive literature review. A collection of umbrella reviews (review of reviews) were considered that evaluated reviews of evidence on actions that could potentially tackle health inequalities. Additionally, ‘normal’ literature reviews were considered that evaluated evidence on important determinants of health by socioeconomic position. In some cases, when no literature review was available that considered socioeconomic differences, a literature review of original studies were done.

The information that is included for each of the actions of the database is:

I. General information

  1. Short name of the action
  2. A short description of the action
  3. References

II. Details about the action

  1. What was the main mechanism? (e.g. improving working & living conditions)
  2. What approach was used? (e.g. targeted or population approach)
  3. What are the main determinants that were addressed? (e.g. smoking)
  4. What health outcomes were affected? (e.g. cardiovascular health)
  5. What was the target population? (e.g. low-income women)
  6. What type of action was it? (e.g. community intervention)
  7. Where was the original action carried out? (e.g. US)
  8. On what level can the action be implemented? (e.g. regional)

III. Details on the evaluation of the action

  1. What was the general study design? (e.g. randomized controlled trial)
  2. A short summary of the main effects
  3. What is the level of evidence?

IV. Other information

  1. Warnings that may need to be taken into account
  2. Notes


HE2020 Action Database 

HE2020 Toolkit

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