In 2018, Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), in collaboration with Pan-Canadian Public Health Network (PHN), Statistics Canada, and the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), released a report entitled “Key Health Inequalities in Canada”. This report summarizes evidence of inequities across demographic and socioeconomic status for 22 indicators of health outcomes, such as diabetes, obesity, and lung cancer, as well as risk factors that include smoking, alcohol use, and food insecurity, among others.
As part of the effort to address health disparity in Canada and to realize the public health goal of optimal health for all Canadians, PHAC has engaged the Upstream Lab at the MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions to identify and examine the best available evidence on interventions that help reduce health inequities in relation to common risk factors for chronic diseases. To achieve this aim, the Upstream Lab will conduct four systematic reviews on interventions that address the social determinants of health of four behavioural risk factors for chronic diseases: unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, tobacco smoking, and problematic alcohol use. These risk factors were selected since they represent the most pronounced health inequalities in Canada and due to their strong association with the highly prevalent non-communicable chronic diseases in Canada, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancer.
The specific goals of the systematic reviews are two-fold:
- To synthesize evidence on effective interventions implemented in the community or at the policy level that target the social determinants of unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, tobacco smoking, and problematic alcohol use.
- To develop a publicly available repository of promising social interventions that help reduce inequity in chronic conditions.
Findings from this study will be used to inform PHAC’s future program planning around health inequity reduction. A database of promising social interventions will also be developed to help policy makers and community members identify potential interventions that can be implemented in their programs.