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Injuries, inequalities and health in Europe

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Injuries account for a significant burden of mortality, morbidity, disability and health care costs. They differentially affect age and sex groups and reveal massive inequalities in occurrence within and between countries in Europe. Within countries, the poor suffer most and have least ability to change their exposures to risk. Addressing inequalities in injury occurrence would play a valuable role in reducing the differential burden of ill-health between rich and poor. Despite the evidence for many effective injury-related interventions, limited attention has been devoted to addressing injuries as a public health priority. This paper questions why attention has been limited to date and suggests policy action to support injuries being addressed as a mainstream concern by national and international health policy-makers. The paper briefly highlights the public health burden of injuries and violence; illustrates the range of inequalities that characterise their occurrence; highlights the scope for public health action and considers the extent to which policies that reduce the overall burden of injuries may also reduce inequalities in their occurrence; and finally examines why there has been a limited policy response to date and suggests ways of advancing the agenda.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 September 2001

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