The reducing of health inequalities is discussed in Helsinki

16.6.2014 7.46
News item N5-64731
Health inequalities are still growing in Finland, even though the goal of health policy has been to narrow these inequalities for several decades. In the wealthiest fifth of the population, men live almost 13 years longer and women almost 7 years longer than those in the least wealthy fifth. The situation is similar in many other European countries.

The experiences of different countries on the reduction of health inequalities will be discussed in the meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Helsinki on June 16-17. The meeting, which is hosted by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, will have over 40 expert participants from the Nordic and Baltic countries. Speakers in the event include State Secretary Ulla-Maija Rajakangas as well as Sir Michael Marmot, who has conducted a survey on health inequalities in Europe.

People's welfare and health is affected by all the conditions in which they are born, grow up, learn, live, work and age. Central factors include smoking, use of intoxicants, working and living conditions, nutrition as well as the amount of exercise. Whether following a healthy lifestyle is easy and cheap or difficult and expensive will depend on social policy. Therefore it is important that welfare and health impacts are evaluated in the decision-making processes of different sectors of the society.

In reducing health inequalities, there should be long-term engagement not just at the national but also at the international level through WHO and EU projects.

Further information:

Satu Leino, Senior Officer, tel. +358 2951 63428