I’m intrigued to know that half of Scots believe poor health is caused by social inequality.

A Scottish Social Attitudes survey claims 51 per cent of people cite injustice in society as a factor in causing some people to have poorer health. Women were more likely than men to think so, as were those on the political left.

Those in the lowest income groups were also most inclined to agree “certain people’s health is worse because of injustice in our society.” Some might think “they would say that, wouldn’t they?” but a more realistic explanation is: “They should know.”

An even higher proportion – 72 per cent of all those asked – agreed that people who live in better quality homes are likely to be more healthy.

Much of this is obvious, what is intriguing is whether such enlightened views of health are being realistically reported.

The same survey commissioned by NHS Health Scotland and carried out by ScotCen, found 82 per cent of all those responding said poorer people were less healthy because of “not having learned to make healthy choices” which is a little more judgmental. And while half of all Scots think poor health can be affected by people’s background and wealth, only 48 per cent said this was a big problem.

Around half of all men and half of those in the wealthiest income group said “some people have higher incomes because they work harder”

The demonisation of people on benefits and sensational TV cliches have their part to play in this, but the stereotypes are simplistic or just plain wrong.

The World Health Organisation has reported that avoidable health problems are causing huge health inequalities in the UK. Where did they look for an example? Calton in Glasgow, where a newborn boy is likely to live a life 28 years shorter than that of his counterpart born in Lenzie.

You can’t just put such effects down to fecklessness or poor attitudes to health and diet.

ScotCen says Scots would like Government to tackle health inequalities and that there is “considerable support” for tax increases to pay for that. Maybe so, but we know what people tell researchers is not always how they will vote when poised with a pencil in the polling booth.

Paradoxically, around half wanted the Government to do more about health differences, but 60 per cent of people said individuals are more responsible than government for their health.

The WHO says too much reliance is placed on medical interventions and more should be spent on tackling the underlying inequalities. It’s right, but we need to tackle the underlying stereotypes too.

A separate report from Glasgow University today warns inequalities will continue unless we address the “poverty gap” during the school summer holidays when they found the health, nutrition and educational progress of children from poorer families can all stagnate or deteriorate.

We need more examples like this, to counter the impact of poverty and persuade those who would still rather think better health is something the the better-off choose, because they are – well, “better”.