Improving health equity through action across the life course: summary of evidence and recommendations from the DRIVERS Project

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Editors: Peter Goldblatt, Johannes Siegrist, Olle Lundberg, Claudia Marinetti, Linden Farrer, Caroline Costongs

Published as part of the DRIVERS project by UCL Institute of Health Equity and EuroHealthNet
Available online : Jan 2015


Economic growth, democratisation and improved living conditions have contributed to improved health and longevity in Europe, but profound and systematic differences in health persist. These differences form a gradient that runs from the top to the bottom of society, and this pattern holds true for all European countries (1, 2). These health inequalities have existed for centuries and much is now known about their causes – many of which are potentially avoidable. However, there are gaps in the evidence base in terms of what is effective in reducing them and in applying what is known elsewhere in a European context. The main aim of the DRIVERS project is to deepen understanding of the relationships that exist in a European context between some of the key influences on health over the course of a person’s life – early childhood, employment, and income and social protection – and to find solutions to improve health and reduce health inequalities. This document begins by providing an overview of DRIVERS and its most significant findings. It then describes headline principles and recommendations to help reduce health inequalities across Europe. More detailed recommendations from the project may be found in Annex A and observations from case studies in Annex B. The goal of DRIVERS is to leave a lasting legacy, by providing evidence that informs the implementation of policies and programmes across different sectors that are effective in reducing health inequalities, improving social justice and contributing to societal and economic progress for all.

 Keywords Palabras claveLife Course, Social Determinants of Health, Health Inequalities, Europe

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