Social deprivation and exposure to health promotion. A study of the distribution of health promotion resources to schools in England

BMC Public Health. 2010 Aug 10:10:473. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-10-473.


Background: Area deprivation is a known determinant of health. It is also known that area deprivation is associated with lower impact health promotion. It is less well known, however, whether deprived areas are less responsive to health promotion, or whether they are less exposed. Using data from a national, school-based campaign to promote vaccination against the human papilloma virus (HPV), the relationship between area deprivation and exposure was examined.

Methods: Taking advantage of a health promotion campaign to provide information to schools about HPV vaccination, a cross sectional study was conducted to examine the relationship between area level, social deprivation, and take-up of (i.e., exposure to) available health promotion material. The sample was 4,750 schools across England, including government maintained and independent schools. The relationship between area deprivation and exposure was examined using bi- and multivariate logistic regression.

Results: It was found that schools in the least deprived quintile had 1.32 times the odds of requesting health promotion materials than schools in the most deprived areas (p = .01). This effect was independent of the school size, the type of school, and the geographic region.

Conclusion: The relationship between area deprivation and the impact of health promotion may be due, at least in part, to differential levels of exposure. The study was limited in scope, pointing to the need for more research, but also points to potentially important policy implications.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • England
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Papillomavirus Infections / prevention & control
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines
  • Poverty Areas*
  • Resource Allocation*


  • Papillomavirus Vaccines