People, places, processes: Reducing health inequalities through balanced health approaches

12 May 2008

This document provides an overview of current evidence from health promotion approaches, with the specific aim of analysing their potential to reduce health inequalities.

Efforts to reduce health inequalities are most likely to be effective when a coordinated range of mutually reinforcing strategies are targeted across varying levels of influence, including:

• initiatives targeting under-resourced places;
• initiatives to improve individuals’ socioeconomic position;
• broad-scale social marketing campaigns to shift relevant attitudes;
• initiatives to change health behaviours and community norms;
• improving how well we (as communities, organisations and workforces) take action to reduce inequalities;
• advocacy to secure community, government and corporate action; and
• reform of relevant policies and legislation.

For effective action with limited resources, it is important for public health planners, the health promotion workforce and social policymakers to know when each approach is best able to achieve the goal of reducing health inequalities.

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