1. Many groups of Americans are significantly less healthy than others and Americans overall are not as healthy as people in other developed countries.
2. These health differences between groups are health inequities resulting from the unequal distribution of social conditions. The unequal distribution of resources influences people's freedom to lead lives they have reason to value, which in turn has a powerful impact on health and its distribution in society.
3. Health equity requires improvements in the social and economic conditions in which people live and work.
4. Access to medical care or medical advances alone will not decrease these health inequities.
5. Government plays a significant role in determining those public policies that shape the social and economic determinants of health.
6. Improvements in health equity require unprecedented collaboration among many different stakeholder groups, units of government, and health care organizations, including policy-makers and those who promote the strengthening of civil society and communities.
7. Social action is needed to alter public policies that influence health. Achieving pro-health equity polices requires collective social action through the political empowerment of communities.
What are Health Inequities?
• Health experts now know that people’s health is influenced by what they call the Overall Life Odds of the place where we live, that the quality of jobs or schools or housing or other conditions are all hidden health factors that affect our health.
• It turns out that the Overall Life Odds, of a place create conditions that have lasting impacts on our health. So the best thing we can do to improve our nation’s health is to invest in communities.
• Allowing third world conditions in America is not only unwarranted, it explains why our nation’s health is not very good even though we spend more on health care than any other nation.
• In ways few of us have recognized before now, our health is intertwined with the conditions in the community around us. Only when we work to improve conditions across this community will we truly make great gains in our overall health.
• Health inequities are disparities that result from a failure to achieve levels of health that, but for lack of action, should be attainable.