Social determinants of health

Closing the gap in a generation - how?

What were the Commission's findings?

Even within countries, there are dramatic differences in health that are closely linked with degrees of social disadvantage. In the Calton area of Glasgow life expectancy at birth for men is 54 years, while in Lenzie, a few kilometres away, it is 82.

These inequities in health arise because of the circumstances in which people grow, live, work, and age, and the systems put in place to deal with illness. The conditions in which people live and die are, in turn, shaped by political, social, and economic forces. Closing the health gap requires concerted action across sectors by national governments, WHO, UN agencies, and civil society organisations. Better health and its fair distribution should be adopted as shared goals.

What does it recommend?

The Commission makes three main recommendations: