The Marmot Review into health inequalities in England was published on 11 February 2010. It proposes an evidence based strategy to address the social determinants of health, the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age and which can lead to health inequalities.
Summary of findings and recommendations
- People living in the poorest neighbourhoods in England will on average die seven years earlier than people living in the richest neighbourhoods.
- People living in poorer areas not only die sooner, but spend more of their lives with disability – an average total difference of 17 years.
- The Review highlights the social gradient of health inequalities - put simply, the lower one's social and economic status, the poorer one's health is likely to be.
- Health inequalities arise from a complex interaction of many factors – housing, income, education, social isolation, disability - all of which are strongly affected by one's economic and social status.
- Health inequalities are largely preventable. Not only is there a strong social justice case for addressing health inequalities, there is also a pressing economic case. It is estimated that the annual cost of health inequalities is between £36 billion to £40 billion through lost taxes, welfare payments and costs to the NHS.
- Action on health inequalities requires action across all the social determinants of health, including education, occupation, income, home and community.