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Housing and health inequalities: A synthesis of systematic reviews of interventions aimed at different pathways linking housing and health

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      Housing and neighbourhood conditions are widely acknowledged to be important social determinants of health, through three main pathways: (1) internal housing conditions, (2) area characteristics and (3) housing tenure. We conducted a systematic overview of systematic reviews of intervention studies to provide an overview of the evidence on the impact of housing and neighbourhood interventions on health and health inequalities. There is relatively strong evidence for interventions aimed at improving area characteristics and compelling evidence for warmth and energy efficiency interventions targeted at vulnerable individuals. However, the health impacts of area-level internal housing improvement interventions are as yet unclear. We found no reviews of interventions aimed at altering housing tenure. This remains an important area for further research and potentially new evidence syntheses.

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      Most cited references 32

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      Experimental Analysis of Neighborhood Effects

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        Tackling the wider social determinants of health and health inequalities: evidence from systematic reviews

        Background There is increasing pressure to tackle the wider social determinants of health through the implementation of appropriate interventions. However, turning these demands for better evidence about interventions around the social determinants of health into action requires identifying what we already know and highlighting areas for further development. Methods Systematic review methodology was used to identify systematic reviews (from 2000 to 2007, developed countries only) that described the health effects of any intervention based on the wider social determinants of health: water and sanitation, agriculture and food, access to health and social care services, unemployment and welfare, working conditions, housing and living environment, education, and transport. Results Thirty systematic reviews were identified. Generally, the effects of interventions on health inequalities were unclear. However, there is suggestive systematic review evidence that certain categories of intervention may impact positively on inequalities or on the health of specific disadvantaged groups, particularly interventions in the fields of housing and the work environment. Conclusion Intervention studies that address inequalities in health are a priority area for future public health research.
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          Housing and public health.

           S. M Shaw (2003)
          This review considers the broad area of housing and public health, one of the traditional and core areas of public health research and intervention. The review takes into account the range of factors, acting at different levels, directly and indirectly, through which housing affects health. In public health terms, housing affects health in a myriad of relatively minor ways, in total forming one of the key social determinants of health. The paper closes by considering how the improvement of housing and neighborhoods has been a core activity of public health and a central component in tackling poverty. Investment in housing can be more than an investment in bricks and mortar: It can also form a foundation for the future health and well-being of the population. Addressing poor-quality housing and detrimental neighborhoods, in the broadest sense, is thus a task that should be grasped with vigor and determination by all those involved in public health.

            Author and article information

            [a ]MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, Glasgow, UK
            [b ]Public and Environmental Health Research Unit, Department of Public Health and Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine ,1 Keppel St., London WC1E 7HT, UK
            [c ]Department of Geography, Durham University, Wolfson Research Institute, Durham University Queen's Campus, Stockton on Tees TS17 6BH, UK
            [d ]Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, University of York, York YO10 5DD, UK
            [e ]Division of Public Health, University of Liverpool, Whelan Building, Quadrangle, Brownlow Hill, Liverpool L69 3GB, UK
            Author notes
            [* ]Corresponding author at: MRC Social & Public Health Sciences Unit, 4 Lilybank Gardens, Glasgow G12 8RZ, UK. Tel.: +44 141 357 3949; fax: +44 141 337 2389. marcia@
            Health Place
            Health Place
            Health & Place
            January 2011
            January 2011
            : 17
            : 1
            : 175-184
            © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

            This document may be redistributed and reused, subject to certain conditions.


            Public health

            health inequalities, systematic review, evidence, housing, intervention


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