Health and Inequality
The department analyses and disseminates information about the health of the population and factors affecting population health, focusing especially on social and geographical differences.
The core tasks of the department
Social and geographical health differences: The department is responsible for mapping and analysing the broader trends of population health at a national level, focusing especially on differences across social groups and geography. This involves analysing the correlation between the population’s health and sociodemographic characteristics such as education, income, profession and place of residence. Research and health analytics in these fields also include the underlying social and societal causal relationships that result in differences in health amongst the population.
Injuries and accidents: The department monitors trends on accidents and personal injuries in Norway and conducts epidemiological research into socioeconomic and geographical differences in relation to the prevalence of injuries, the causes and consequences of accidents, and analyses of data quality in this field. The department works extensively with other institutions both in Norway and abroad.
Growth Cohort: The department has the scientific responsibility for the growth cohort. The growth cohort consists of five cross-sectional studies on weight and height among 8-year-olds (the Child Growth Study) and a cross-sectional study on weight and height among 13-year-olds (Young Growth Study). The purpose of the Growth Cohort is to be able to follow trends in the prevalence of underweight, normal weight, overweight and obesity among children and adolescents. The growth cohort is part of the WHO European Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI).
Evaluation of measures: The department works closely with the Centre for the Evaluation of Public Health Measures, and several employees are affiliated with the centre. The centre's objectives are to carry out evaluations of public health measures, strengthen research into measures at the institute, develop models for user involvement and to be a national resource for evaluating public health measures for municipal, county and national administration.
Burden of disease: Many of the department’s researchers are affiliated with the Centre for Burden of Disease. Burden of disease calculations show how different diseases, injuries and risk factors affect a population in the form of loss of health and mortality.
Health statistics dissemination: Data on population health and its determinants are presented in a variety of ways, tailored to different user groups:
Public health profiles: The department is responsible for producing public health profiles for all of Norway’s municipalities and county councils (and boroughs in the biggest cities). The public health profiles are brief reports containing key figures published in the first quarter of every year. Municipal and county councils use them to gain an overview of health in the population and of factors that influence their health, cf. the Public Health Act.
Growth profiles: The department collaborates with the Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs, the Directorate for Education and Training, the Labour and Welfare Administration, the Directorate for Integration and Diversity and the Directorate for Health to publish growth profiles. The growth profiles are based on the template of the public health profiles, and have statistics on children and young people and their growth conditions.
Statistics databases: The Norhealth and Kommunehelsa databases allow tables, maps and diagrams to be created according to gender, year and age group.
International reporting and participation in international working groups: The department is responsible for some international reporting and participates in various working groups to co-ordinate the gathering and publication of health statistics.
- Expert Group on Health Information (EGHI): The Expert Group on Health Information (EGHI) is responsible for co-ordinating health indicators in Europe,.
- Nordic Medico-Statistical Committee (NOMESCO): The Nordic Medico-Statistical Committee and the Nordic Social Statistical Committee are responsible for co-ordinating health and social statistics in the Nordic countries.
- The WHO’s European health for all database (HFA-DB): The Department of Health and Inequality is responsible for reporting Norwegian data to the World Health Organisation’s online database.