Health and Inequality
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 socio-demographic 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 socio-economic 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.
Evaluation of interventions: In January 2016 the department began setting up a team tasked with evaluating public health interventions, primarily impact evaluations. Impact evaluations may be initiated by the department or in partnership with other institutions (e.g. municipalities, counties or directorates) and/or organisations (e.g. the voluntary sector). The department also provides advice on evaluations.
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 their citizens’ health and of factors that influence their health, cf. the Public Health Act.
- Statistics databases: The Norhealth and Kommunehelsa databases allow tables, maps and diagrams to be created according to gender, year and age group.
- Public Health Report: The Public Health Report describes the health status of the Norwegian population with the help of existing data and analyses from various national and international sources. Topics include mental and physical health, infectious and non-infectious diseases, social inequalities in health, well-being and health promoting factors, and known determinants such as diet, tobacco, physical activity, alcohol and other substances.
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.
- The Child Growth Study of Norway monitors overweight and obesity in children and is part of the WHO European Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI).