Research finds economic sector disinterested in reports about social and health inequalities

Feb 03, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- A report just published by the World Health Organisation from a public health researcher at the University of Otago, Wellington shows that while New Zealand has developed innovative annual Social Reports, these have had varied uptake in addressing health inequities over the last decade.

The report headed by Frank Pega examines how well and civil society have utilised and applied information on social indicators and inequalities gathered by the Ministry of Social Development’s annual Social Reports.

The study found that although the Ministries of and Social Development made good use of the Reports into social wellbeing to improve the social determinants of health and reduce health inequities, other government departments often did not.

This was particularly so with Treasury and agencies concerned with national policies relating to economic development.

“Our investigation found this limited the overall impact of the Social Reports in reducing those factors which drive health inequities between Māori and non-Māori, and different socio-economic groups in New Zealand,” says Mr Pega. “To some extent the impact of the Social Reports suffered because of this.”

The report points out that outside the government sector the Reports did have considerable impact, especially amongst health advocates, service providers, Māori organisations, academics and the media. However it appears that there was little impact on the business sector.

“Economic theory and empirical evidence suggest that health inequalities can constrain economic development, so it is surprising that budgetary and economic development departments, and the commercial sector, didn’t make better use of the Social Reports for strategic planning, policy development and decision-making,” Mr Pega says.

“Many key-informants we interviewed expected the economic sector to consider and be guided by the findings of the Social Reports.”

The idea behind social reporting is that all relevant sectors need to be involved to effectively address complex issues. Tackling New Zealand’s wide ethnic inequalities in obesity, for example, requires changes from the commercial food sector, and public ‘education’ through the health sector.

”A multiplicity of social factors influence the health of New Zealanders, and this underlines the importance of acting on an annual report card of social indicators which determine our health status,” he says.

Explore further: Decoding ethnic labels

Provided by University of Otago

5 /5 (3 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New report calls for family-security insurance

Dec 06, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Researchers at Berkeley Law and Georgetown Law have released a blueprint for a national insurance program -- which would replace wages when people need to take time off for health and care-giving. ...

The stress of work becomes social issue

Nov 01, 2010

The sharp rise in work stress in Britain is becoming a major social problem in the current economic crisis, a new British Academy report has found.

Study finds sick kids have fewer friends

Dec 07, 2010

A new study reveals that sick teens are more isolated than other kids, but they do not necessarily realize it and often think their friendships are stronger than they actually are.

Depressed men struggle more than depressed women

Dec 08, 2010

A new wide-ranging study by the University of Otago, Wellington has shown that men with common mental disorders, such as depression or anxiety, are more likely than women with those disorders to have difficulties with social ...

Recommended for you

Decoding ethnic labels

Jul 30, 2014

If you are of Latin American descent, do you call yourself Chicano? Latino? Hispanic?

Local education politics 'far from dead'

Jul 29, 2014

Teach for America, known for recruiting teachers, is also setting its sights on capturing school board seats across the nation. Surprisingly, however, political candidates from the program aren't just pushing ...

First grade reading suffers in segregated schools

Jul 29, 2014

A groundbreaking study from the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG) has found that African-American students in first grade experience smaller gains in reading when they attend segregated schools—but the ...

Why aren't consumers buying remanufactured products?

Jul 29, 2014

Firms looking to increase market share of remanufactured consumer products will have to overcome a big barrier to do so, according to a recent study from the Penn State Smeal College of Business. Findings from faculty members ...

Expecting to teach enhances learning, recall

Jul 29, 2014

People learn better and recall more when given the impression that they will soon have to teach newly acquired material to someone else, suggests new research from Washington University in St. Louis.

User comments : 0