Indicators for health inequality in the Nordic countries
10 May 2019
Social inequalities in health in the Nordic countries persist and may even be growing. Our new report identifies a list of indicators that can be used to monitor and compare trends in health inequality in and between the Nordic countries.
Social inequalities apply to almost all diseases, injuries and ailments. It is therefore important for the authorities to monitor social inequalities. Indicators are vital both to set a baseline for work alleviating inequalities and to formulate policies that will improve public health for all groups.
The identified indicators are based on data collected regularly in international data sources and the list includes indicators on both health outcomes and impact factors:
- Life expectancy at age 30 years, by education
- At risk of poverty or social exclusion in the age group 25-59 years, by education
- Self-assessed health in the age group 25-64 years, by education
- Smoking in the age group 25-64 years, by education
- Daily intake of vegetables in the age group 25-64 years, by education
- Physical activity at 15 years of age, according to Family Affluence Scale
- Gini coefficient on income equality
The researchers found around 170 possible indicators through searching international data sources. More or less identical indicators were removed and the remaining indicators were evaluated according to a set of specific selection criteria, such as validity, relevance, accessibility and comprehensibility.
The report suggests that the selected indicators should be included in each Nordic country´s publication of data on social inequalities in health and that they should be included in the statistics bank for the Nordic Medico-Statistical Committee (NOMESCO) and the Nordic Social Statistical Committee (NOSOSCO) for regular reporting.
The project led by the Nordic Welfare Centre was organised with a project group at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and a reference group with representatives from all the five Nordic countries. The project was implemented within the framework of The Nordic Arena for Public Health Issues.
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