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Public health policy in developed countries 

Public health policy in developed countries
Chapter:
Public health policy in developed countries
Author(s):

John Powles

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199661756.003.0022
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date: 20 September 2019

The unit of analysis for policy is typically the nation state. The diversity of health experience in developed countries over recent decades provides extremely rich raw material for exploring connections between political and economic institutions and policies on the one hand and health trends on the other. The experience of individual countries is noted in this chapter according to what it might be telling us about the variety of experience among developed countries. This chapter focuses on the relationship of policy to average levels of population health, not on relationships with inequalities in health levels within countries. The second section of the chapter surveys trends in survival over the last four decades. The third section explores, through case studies of road traffic injuries, tobacco and circulatory diseases, the apparent sources of success in reducing non-communicable diseases and injuries in adults. The fourth section notes two public health failures-obesity and habitat degradation-and the fifth considers wider determinants of average levels of population health. The sixth concludes with a tentative vindication of pluralism-ideological, methodological, and institutional.

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