A review of international case studies of policy approaches to benefit population health

Contact: Modi Mwatsama, Director, Policy and Global Health at UKHF
  • Research to develop international case studies highlighting examples where national, regional or local governments have introduced social policies that have sought to maximise benefits to population health through action outside the health service sector.
  • Led by the UK Health Forum.
  • Due to be completed in January 2018.


A wide variety of factors contribute to people’s health and wellbeing including access to education, good work and environmental factors such as decent homes, pleasant surroundings and strong social networks. These influences are shaped by government policy, including economic, social, housing and planning policies. Despite this, cross-government policy making often fails to seize the opportunity to improve population health and wellbeing through action to address the wider determinants. Consequently, the detrimental impact on health and wellbeing of other (non-health) policies is not taken into proper account. For the same reason, opportunities to improve health and wellbeing by using these policy levers systematically and in a coordinated way are missed.


The aim of these case studies is to discover and describe examples where there has been consideration of population health in wider policy development, and to identify opportunities and approaches which could be applicable in the UK. The work will identify key aspects of the policy processes across a variety of sectors that can have a positive impact on health, with a focus on prevention of non-communicable diseases and the broader determinants of health and wellbeing. Using a systems approach, the UKHF will look at the evidence to understand wider conditions within which interventions are developed; how ideas and solutions came about; and the motivation and social attitudes to interventions.


The UKHF will use qualitative case study methods including the use of data generated from documents identified from literature reviews and interviews with key informants.

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