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Public Health (08-09-2008)

Closing the health gap in a generation - the role of the EU Health Strategy

On 28 August, the World Health Organization (WHO) published the report of its Commission on Social Determinants of Health. It highlights major differences in life expectancy and rates of disease between rich and poor within all countries as well as between different parts of the world. In many instances these gaps have increased. The report makes wide ranging recommendations in order to 'close the gap in a generation' emphasising action on living conditions, access to services, social support, information and research, as well as on health promotion and disease prevention.
The European Commission has invited the Chair of the WHO Commission on Social determinants of health, Sir Michael Marmot and its member Dr Giovanni Berlinguer, MEP, to present and discuss the findings of his report and the consequences for European Union policies to a group of senior staff in the European institutions on 8 September.
Noting that the difference in life expectancy for men is now 13 years between EU countries Robert Madelin said, "the European Commission can use the findings of this report to build on the EU health strategy 2007-2013 which gives great importance to tackling health inequalities through action on tackling health determinants, integrating health as part of overall development and by addressing health in other policies".
For more information on Commission activities in tackling health inequalities see the SANCO public health website.
The WHO commission on social determinants report: