Priorities for action on the social determinants of health: Empirical evidence on the strongest associations with life expectancy in 54 low-income countries, 1990–2012
The WHO Commission on the Social Determinants of Health set out an impressive collection of policy proposals on the social determinants of health. However, a serious weakness for securing implementation is the difficulty for policymakers in identifying priorities for action. The objective of this study is to determine a small set of the most influential determinants using existing data and an empirical approach.
There is no evidence that national income, public spending on healthcare and education, secondary schooling, terms of international trade, employment, debt service and relief, out-of-pocket expenditures, agricultural ex- or imports, lifestock production, foreign investment, urbanization or environmental degradation are robustly associated with population health. Results provide support for the relevance of some proposed policies. The findings can inform priorities for future research and policy action on the social determinants of health.