This report considers the social, cultural and economic determinants of health and provides advice to the Minister of Health on practical strategies that will improve the health of New Zealanders and reduce socioeconomic inequalities in health.
- Summarises the major social, cultural and economic determinants of health and recent trends in these determinants in New Zealand and outlines the ways in which these Determinants might affect health and give rise to inequalities in health
- Provides a rationale for acting on the determinants of health in order to improve population health and reduce health inequalities
- Outlines possible interventions that act on these determinants to improve population health and reduce socioeconomic inequalities in health
- Identifies specific areas for action and recommends appropriate strategies for intervening.
The principal findings of the report are:
- Social, cultural and economic factors are the main determinants of health
- There are persisting health inequalities as a result of socioeconomic factors in New Zealand and some evidence that these may be worsening
- Current trends in many socioeconomic factors in New Zealand are likely to widen health inequalities further
- There are good reasons for intervening to reduce socioeconomic inequalities in health
- There are evidence-based interventions for reducing these inequalities.
The report says that action to reduce inequalities in health resulting from social, cultural and economic determinants requires a comprehensive approach involving strategies both within and outside the health sector. This requires broad acknowledgement of the important role of social, cultural and economic factors that determine health and of socioeconomic inequalities in health. It also requires a long-term commitment to confirm that interventions are improving the health of low socioeconomic groups.