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

Mariona Pons-Vigues*, Elia Diez, Joana Morrison, Sergio Salas-Nicas, Rasmus Hoffmann, Bo Burstrom, Jitse P. van Dijk, Carme Borrell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)
262 Downloads (Pure)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number198
Number of pages12
JournalBMC Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 24-Feb-2014


  • Health inequalities
  • Public policies
  • Interventions
  • Cities
  • Urban health
  • Scoping review

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