Innocenti Working Papers

The UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre (IRC) was created to strengthen UNICEF's research capability and to support its advocacy for children worldwide. The Working Papers (formerly Innocenti Occasional Papers), are the foundation of the Centre's research output, underpinning many of the Centre's other publications. These high quality research papers are aimed at an academic and well-informed audience, contributing to ongoing discussion on a wide range of child-related issues.


Why Income Inequalities Matter for Young People’s Health

A Look at the Evidence

Although child and adolescent inequalities are still less understood than those of adults (1), we have made progress in understanding the pathways that lead to negative outcomes and the limitations of some ‘adult-specific’ indicators as proxies of young people’s health and well-being. Nonetheless, the academic literature has been able to establish a clear negative relationship between a person’s material circumstances and their health outcomes and behaviours such as being overweight, lack of physical activity, higher levels of smoking and mental health problems; all of which persist throughout a person’s life. The personal and societal toll of these effects is clear yet policies are still lagging behind, tackling proximal causes rather than ‘the causes of the causes’ (2) of these health inequalities. Policymakers, researchers and the public must come together to ensure that no child is a victim of inequalities through no fault of their own. This paper aims to summarise relevant knowledge on the socio-economic causes of health inequalities in children. It will not only provide a foundation to the Innocenti Report Card 13 in terms of outlining our knowledge regarding the drivers of health inequality but it will also help us shed light on its consequences.


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