Policy Approaches to Reducing Health Inequalities: A practical exercise using the example of food insecurity
Health inequalities have been a preoccupation of public health for many years. They occur when some population groups enjoy better health, longer life expectancy, and a host of other health-related advantages compared to other population groups. Health inequalities are often seen among different income groups but also occur between groups defined by gender, race, or age, for example. Different policy approaches have been proposed over the years to reduce health inequalities. In the briefing note, Policy Approaches to Reducing Health Inequalities, we distinguish between approaches that act predominantly on the social determinants of health and those that act predominantly on the social determinants of health inequalities. The former include approaches that target living conditions, communities and settings, as well as individuals, while the latter consist of approaches that focus on the social, political, cultural, economic and environmental contexts, as well as the social positioning of groups and individuals within the population.
This document presents an exercise to be used in conjunction with the briefing note, Policy Approaches to Reducing Health Inequalities, which we advise you to read before doing the exercise. This document is available at: https://www.ncchpp.ca/141/publications.ccnpps?id_article=1548
We hope to provide practical experience in distinguishing between the different approaches and to stimulate reflection on the implications of different policies designed to intervene on an issue related to health inequalities. The exercise is adapted from workshops and webinars given by the NCCHPP and is meant as a tool to assist public health actors in reflecting on the types of policy approaches that might be used to tackle health inequalities by reducing food insecurity. A summary of the main policy approaches to reducing health inequalities is followed by a practical exercise on the topic of food security.