Addressing social determinants of health inequities through settings: a rapid review
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Changing settings to be more supportive of health and healthy choices is an optimum way to improve population health and health inequities. This paper uses the World Health Organisation’s (1998) definition of settings approaches to health promotion as those focused on modifying settings' structure and nature. A rapid literature review was undertaken in the period June-August 2014, combining a systematically conducted search of two major databases with targeted searches. The review focused on identifying what works in settings approaches to address the social determinants of health inequities, using Fair Foundations: the VicHealth framework for health equity (VicHealth 2013). This depicts the social determinants of health inequities as three layers of influence, and entry points for action to promote health equity. The evidence review identified work in twelve settings (cities; communities and neighbourhoods; educational; healthcare; online; faith-based; sports; workplaces; prisons; and nightlife, green and temporary settings), and work at the socioeconomic, political and cultural context layer of the Fair Foundations framework (governance, legislation, regulation and policy). It located a relatively small amount of evidence that settings themselves are being changed in ways which address the social determinants of health inequities. Rather, many initiatives focus on individual behaviour change within settings. There is considerable potential for health promotion professionals to focus settings work more upstream and so replace or integrate individual approaches with those addressing daily living conditions and higher level structures, and a significant need for programs to be evaluated for differential equity impacts and published to provide a more solid evidence base.
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