CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

This article describes the changing modalities of action designed to address social inequalities in health recommended in France, in the light of WHO and other international guidelines. Content analysis of policy recommendations identified eleven categories of actions and five types of changes as a function of target populations and the resources deployed. Recommendations have evolved from interventions designed to improve access to primary care to interventions on the social determinants of health, from reinforcement of individual capacities to global empowerment, from interventions on target populations to social inclusion of everyone, from promotion of health investments to increased financial regulation, from a favourable public health policies approach to a health approach in all policies.
Multiple modalities of action have been proposed in France, but have remained poorly implemented. They have evolved over time, usually in response to international reference texts with a certain time gap. Internationally recommended interventions differ considerably from interventions focussing on individual capacities, while the new public health law in France reintroduced targeted behavioural interventions. These findings raise a number of other questions, especially concerning the way in which research into social inequalities in health influence public decisions and the institutional treatment of health in all policies.


  • social inequalities in health
  • policy
  • governance
  • intersectoriality
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