Social and health policies or interventions to tackle health inequalities in European cities: a scoping review

BMC Public Health. 2014 Feb 24;14:198. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-198.


Background: Health inequalities can be tackled with appropriate health and social policies, involving all community groups and governments, from local to global. The objective of this study was to carry out a scoping review on social and health policies or interventions to tackle health inequalities in European cities published in scientific journals.

Methods: Scoping review. The search was done in "PubMed" and the "Sociological Abstracts" database and was limited to articles published between 1995 and 2011. The inclusion criteria were: interventions had to take place in European cities and they had to state the reduction of health inequalities among their objectives.

Results: A total of 54 papers were included, of which 35.2% used an experimental design, and 74.1% were carried out in the United Kingdom. The whole city was the setting in 27.8% of them and 44.4% were based on promoting healthy behaviours. Adults and children were the most frequent target population and half of the interventions had a universal approach and the other half a selective one. Half of the interventions were evaluated and showed positive results.

Conclusions: Although health behaviours are not the main determinants of health inequalities, the majority of the selected documents were based on evaluations of interventions focusing on them.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Cities
  • Community Health Services
  • Ethnicity
  • Europe
  • Health Policy*
  • Healthcare Disparities*
  • Humans
  • Urban Health