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Health for Everyone?

Social Inequalities in Health and Health Systems

image of Health for Everyone?

Good health is a key component of people’s well-being. It is a value in itself but – through its influence on social, education and labour market outcomes – being in good or bad health has also wider implications on people’s chances of leading a fulfilling and productive life. Yet, even in the OECD countries, health inequality persists with severe consequences on the goal of promoting inclusive growth. This report documents a comprehensive range of inequalities in health and health systems to the detriment of disadvantaged population groups in a large set of OECD and EU countries. It assesses the gaps in health outcomes and risk factors between different socio-economic groups. When it comes to health systems, the report measures inequalities in health care utilisation, unmet needs and the affordability of health care services. For each of these different domains, the report identifies groups of countries that display higher, intermediate, and low levels of inequality. The report makes a strong case for addressing health-related inequalities as a key component of a policy strategy to promote inclusive growth and reduce social inequalities. It also provides a framework for more in-depth analyses on how to address these inequalities at country level.

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Inequalities in health and its determinants

This chapter examines education-related inequalities in health status and its determinants across OECD and European countries. The chapter starts with the brief discussion on the links between health and employment to show that being in good health is instrumental in achieving good labour market outcomes. The chapter then analyses the extent to which exposure to behavioural risk factors (overweight, smoking and heavy drinking) differs across European and OECD countries and, within countries, across the social spectrum. Lastly, education-related health inequalities are investigated considering three health variables (self-assessed health status, limitations in daily activities and multiple chronic conditions), and patterns of health inequalities across European and OECD countries are analysed.

English

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