Health inequalities policy in Korea: current status and future challenges

J Korean Med Sci. 2012 May;27 Suppl(Suppl):S33-40. doi: 10.3346/jkms.2012.27.S.S33. Epub 2012 May 18.


In recent years, health inequalities have become an important public health concern and the subject of both research and policy attention in Korea. Government reports, as well as many epidemiological studies, have provided evidence that a wide range of health outcomes and health-related behaviors are socioeconomically patterned, and that the magnitude of health inequalities is even increasing. However, except for the revised Health Plan 2010 targets for health equity, few government policies have explicitly addressed health inequalities. Although a number of economic and social policies may have had an impact on health inequalities, such impact has scarcely been evaluated. In this review, we describe the current status of research and policy on health inequalities in Korea. We also suggest future challenges of approaches and policies to reduce health inequalities and highlight the active and intensive engagement of many policy sectors and good evidence for interventions that will make meaningful reduction of health inequalities possible.

Keywords: Economic Recession; Educational Status; Epidemiologic Studies; Health Policy; Income; Korea; Occupations; Poverty; Social Policy; Socioeconomic Factors.

MeSH terms

  • Health Policy*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Republic of Korea
  • Socioeconomic Factors