Health Inequalities

Contents

Summary

Socio-economic inequalities were found for the whole scope of health indicators, spreading from risk factors to morbidity and mortality. They were particularly pronounced in life and health expectancy, mortality, mental health, and many risk factors (namely smoking, obesity, lack of physical activity, nutritional habits).
With respect to the evolution: between the years 2000s and the early 2010s the socio-economic inequalities had increased for many health indicators. A look at more recent evolutions- between the early 2010s (2011-2013 depending on the studies) and the late 2010s (2018-2020) - reveals a more nuanced picture: a recent worsening of the inequalities was observed for a limited number of indicators (e.g. smoking behavior, depression, and migraine); for most health indicators however, no recent worsening was observed, and for some of them, a decline of the inequalities was even observed (as for instance, for suffering for a chronic condition in general or from multimorbidity). This does not necessarily correspond to a satisfying evolution, as for many indicators SE inequalities had increased earlier and have now stabilized at a higher level (e.g. for the life expectancy). Only a true reduction of the inequalities (and above all the absolute inequalities) would be satisfying, and this is not yet the case.