Comparison of health policy documents of European cities: Are they oriented to reduce inequalities in health?


Health policies are specified in documents that contain values, objectives, strategies, and interventions to be implemented. The objective of our study was to analyse health policy documents of six European cities and one county council published around 2010 to determine (i) how cities conceptualize health inequalities, and (ii) what strategies are proposed to reduce them. We performed a qualitative document analysis. We selected Health or Health Inequalities policy documents and analysed the following aspects: general characteristics of the document, inclusion and definition of health inequalities, promotion of good governance and participation, number of objectives, and evaluation. We also described specific objectives. Rotterdam, London, and Stockholm use a conceptual framework. Two of them define health inequalities as a social gradient. Intersectoral action, participation, and evaluation are included in most documents. Interventions focus mainly on the socioeconomic context.

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This article has been partially funded by the project INEQ-CITIES, ‘Socioeconomic inequalities in mortality: evidence and policies of cities of Europe’; project funded by the Executive Agency for Health and Consumers (Commission of the European Union), project no. 2008 12 13.

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Correspondence to Carme Borrell.

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CorrectionAfter removal of a reference from this article the citations were not correctly renumbered in the version of this article originally published 22 November 2012. Please also note the correct shading has been added to Table 2. These corrections have been made in this final version.

Analyzing health policy documents of six European cities and one county council allowed the authors to explore how cities conceptualized health inequalities and strategies proposed to reduce them.

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Borrell, C., Morrison, J., Burstrom, B. et al. Comparison of health policy documents of European cities: Are they oriented to reduce inequalities in health?. J Public Health Pol 34, 100–120 (2013).

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  • health policy
  • cities
  • socioeconomic factors
  • Europe