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When can prevention expect to also reduce social inequalities in health? 

When can prevention expect to also reduce social inequalities in health?
When can prevention expect to also reduce social inequalities in health?

J. Frank

, R. Jepson

, and A. J. Williams

Page of

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date: 19 September 2021

So far, the authors have tried to lay out the principles of evaluating evidence for both the causation of diseases and their prevention. The authors have so far focused in this book mainly on studies purporting to show that preventive interventions improve health on average, i.e. improve the probability of future good health and/or longer life for entire populations. They now ask a broader question. ‘Which sorts of preventive interventions are likely to reduce social and economic inequalities in health, as measured at the population level?’ To introduce this topic, what is currently known about socioeconomic inequalities in health, and their origins are described. The impact of prevention impact on differences in health by socioeconomic status is a new field, with the most significant publications largely within the last decade or so. However, knowledge of the nature and the origins of socioeconomic differences in health extends back to writings in Europe over 150 years ago. This chapter uses that background knowledge to generate broad guidelines as to the sorts of preventive interventions most likely, and least likely, to reduce health inequalities by socio-economic position.

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