The Equality Commission of Sweden completed their work in August 2020 and has released the report “A Common Concern” to the government.
The report highlights strengthening alcohol policy and prevention as a catalyst for health equity.

The Equality Commission’s mission was to submit proposals that will increase long-term economic equality and opportunities for social mobility. They completed their work in August and submitted the report “A Common Concern“.

A Committee for Increased Economic Equality – an Equality Commission – has been tasked with submitting proposals aimed at increasing long-term economic equality and increasing opportunities for social mobility. Overall, the Commission’s proposal will contribute to greater equality and improved integration.

According to the report, inequality affects many areas, including health. Differences exist in injuries and illnesses people suffer, the risks people face and treatment and care received. Various factors contribute to these differences, such as:

  1. education and income,
  2. environment for expectant mothers,
  3. living and local environment,
  4. language,
  5. foreign background, and
  6. negative reinforcement mechanisms (decisions made under stress).

An example of how the environment affects inequality is shown by examining how the late 1960’s introduction of sales of strong beer in grocery stores in Gothenburg and Bohuslän and in Värmland affected health in children. Children born during the period of the “strong beer experiment” reportedly had 24% lower income than those born before or after according to research by economist Peter Nilsson.

Regarding addiction the commission concludes that alcohol consumption adds to inequality. Alcohol consumption is higher in the higher income strata, but alcohol harm is worse in lower income groups. This trend in inequality has intensified over the years.

The commission recommends the following measures in the area of alcohol to increase equality in society:

  • Preventive maternal and child health care,
  • Promote basic good living habits in both children and adults,
  • Preserve the alcohol monopoly,
  • Improve the alcohol advertising ban, and
  • Index the alcohol tax.

Giving priority for investments in prevention work among children and youth, according to the commission, can have long lasting positive effects.

Regarding alcohol policy the commission believes strengthening alcohol policy solutions is a catalyst for equality. Per Molander, chairman of the Equality Commission is specifically critical of the reinvestigation of farm sales of alcohol which would undermine the Swedish Alcohol Act and the alcohol retail monopoly.

Our picture is that the alcohol law needs to be tightened as soon as possible,” said Per Molander, chairman of the Equality Commission, as per Accent.

ANDT (alcohol, narcotic drugs, doping and tobacco) are important components for equal health. They have a tendency to cut across all other areas.”

Per Molander, chairman, Equality Commission

Source Website: Accent