British academy

"If you could do one thing..." Nine local actions to reduce health inequalities

The British Academy presents a collection of opinion pieces on health inequalities from leading social scientists. Each of the authors has written an article, drawing on the evidence base for their particular area of expertise, identifying one policy intervention  that they think local authorities could introduce to improve the health of the local population and reduce health inequalities.

The report seeks to help local policymakers improve the health of their communities by presenting evidence from the social sciences that can help reduce inequalities in health. With a foreword from Sir Michael Marmot, the report further explores what The Marmot Review confirmed: that socio-economic inequalities affect health outcomes and that there is a social gradient in health. In some senses this is a social sciences dialogue companion to The Marmot Review.

With the current structural changes to public health in England, we hope that this report will be a useful source of information on the evidence base for local policymakers and Directors of Public Health. 

Expert authors and their chapters:

Professor Kate PickettAddressing Health Inequalities through Greater Social Equality at a Local Level: Implement a Living Wage Policy 

Professor Edward MelhuishThe Impact of Early Childhood Education and Care on Improved Wellbeing

Professor Danny Dorling20mph Speed Limits for Cars in Residential Areas, by Shops and Schools 

Professor Clare Bambra: Tackling Health-Related Worklessness: A 'Health First' Approach

Professor Kwame McKenzieUsing Participatory Budgeting to Improve Mental Capital at the Local Level

Professor Tarani Chandola and Dr Andrew JenkinsThe Scope of Adult and Further Education for Reducing Health Inequalities

Professor James NazrooEthnic Inequalities in Health: Addressing a Significant Gap in Current Evidence and Policy

Professor Hal Kendig and Professor Chris PhillipsonBuilding Age-Friendly Communities: New Approaches to Challenging Health and Social Inequalities

Professor Alan MaynardThe Role of Cost-Effectiveness Evidence in Reducing Inequality

The project has been led by a steering group of academic and policy experts:

  • Dr Jessica Allen, Institute of Health Equity
  • Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, University of Liverpool
  • Dr Fiona Godlee, British Medical Journal
  • Professor Anthony Heath CBE, FBA, University of Oxford and University of Manchester
  • Professor Miles Hewstone FBA (Chair), University of Oxford
  • Mr Jim McManus, Hertfordshire County Council
  • Professor Kate Pickett, University of York
  • Dame Jane Roberts, New Local Government Network

January 2014     ISBN 978-0-85672-611-8 

Download If You Could Do One Thing - full report here

Download If You Could Do One Thing Executive Summary here

Download Addressing Health Inequalities Through Greater Social Equality at a Local Level: Implement a Living Wage Policy by Kate Pickett here

Download The Impact of Early Childhood Education and Care on Improved Wellbeing by Edward Melhuish here

Download 20mph Speed Limits for Cars in Residential Areas, by Shops and Schools by Danny Dorling here

Download Tackling Health-Related Worklessness: a ‘Health First’ Approach by Clare Bambra here

Download Using Participatory Budgeting to Improve Mental Capital at the Local Level by Kwame McKenzie here

Download The Scope of Adult and Further Education for Reducing Health Inequalities by Tarani Chandola and Andrew Jenkins here

Download Ethnic Inequalities in Health: Addressing a Significant Gap in Current Evidence and Policy by James Y. Nazroo here

Download Building Age-Friendly Communities: New Approaches to Challenging Health and Social Inequalities by Hal Kendig and Chris Phillipson here 

Download The Role of Cost-Effectiveness Evidence in Reducing Inequality by Alan Maynard here