A Life Course Approach to Women's Health

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How far is the health of middle aged and older women shaped by biological, social, and psychological processes that begin in pre-natal development, in childhood, adolescence, or early adult life? Do health risks gradually accumulate over the life course or do mentioned factors as a child and young adult have interactive effects on health in midlife and beyond? Are women now reaching middle age in better health than previous generations? A group of international experts critically review the latest scientific evidence on biological and social factors at each stage of life that have long-term effects on reproductive outcomes, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, musculoskeletal ageing, depression, body weights and body dissatisfaction. There is growing evidence that the sources of risk to physical and mental health occur across the course of life, not just in adult life, and in some instances reach right back to pre-natal development, or the previous generation. Contributors draw on their varied expertise in epidemiology, endocrinology, physiology, developmental psychology, sociology, and anthropology to identify the pathways that link early life experiences, reproductive events, adult lifestyle and lifetime socio-economic circumstances to later health. A Life Course Approach looks for connections between development and ageing, and between the childhood and adult social environment. It is scientifically interesting, conceptually and methodologically challenging, inherently interdisciplinary, and policy relevant. This thoughtful book will appeal to all with a professional or personnal interest in understanding the origins of women's health.

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Donald R. Frey, MD (Creighton University Medical Center)
Description: This manual presents the numerous aspects of women's health from a life-course perspective. The work draws heavily from epidemiologic sources in detailing its approach to women's healthcare.
Purpose: The book is intended to present women's healthcare as a continuum of experiences throughout a woman's lifelong growth and development. Given the testing and monitoring bias that has existed in the past with respect to how disease entities affect women, this work presents comprehensive women's health information in a most welcome fashion.
Audience: The book is intended for all practitioners who care for women on an ongoing basis. Those readers with an interest in the epidemiology of disease will find the book particularly interesting. The editors are both members of the prestigious London School of Public Health.
Features: Women's health and disease, with an emphasis on lifelong prevention and risk factors, are underscored throughout the book. Genetic, cultural, family, and environmental factors are thoroughly discussed methods of intervention to improve outcomes are discussed. Charts, algorithms, and graphs are used extensively. Some readers not well versed in the language of epidemiology may find the book a bit difficult.
Assessment: This is a comprehensive review of how lifelong risk factors affect women's health in a host of positive and negative ways. Practitioners with a strong interest in epidemiology will find the book quite fascinating.

4 Stars! from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780192632890
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 1/9/2003
  • Series: Life Course Approach to Adult Health Ser
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.60 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

both at University College, London
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Table of Contents

1. Introduction A life course approach to women's health: does the past predict the present?, Diana Kuh and Rebecca Hardy
2. Health, ageing and disease A life course approach to women's reproductive health, Janet Rich-Edwards: Commentary Susan Morgan
3. Breast cancer aetiology: where do we go from here?, Isabel dos Santos Silva and Bianca De Stavola:Commentary Nancy Potischman
4. Menopause and urogenital disorders: a life cousre perspective, Rebecca Hardy and Diana Kuh: Commentary Sybil Crawford and Catherine Johannes
5. A life course approach to coronary heart disease and stroke, Debbie Lawlor, Shah Ebrahim and George Davey Smith: Commentary Catherine Law
6. A life course approach to Diabetes, Helen Colhoun and Nish Chaturvedi : Commentary Janet Rich-Edwards
7. A life course approach to musculoskeletal ageing: functional performance, osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, Joan Bassey, Avan Aihie Sayer and Cyrus Cooper: Commentary Jane Cauley
8. Depression and psychological distress: a life course perspective, Barbara Maughan: Commentary Bryan Rodgers
9. Body image: a life course perspective, Lindsay McLaren and Jane Wardle: Commentary J Kevin Thompson
10. Biological, Social and Psychosocial Pathways Endocrine pathways in differential and well-being across the life course, Carol M Worthman: Commentary Elizabeth Barrett-Connor
11. Social and economic trajectories and women's health, Mel Bartley, Amanda Sacker and Ingrid Schoon: Commentary Kate Hunt
12. Life course influences on women's social relationships at midlife, Nadine F Marks and Kirsy Ashleman: Commentary Stephen Stansfield and Rebecca Fuhrer
13. A life course perspective on women's health behaviousrs, Mary Schooling and Diana Kuh: Commentary Hilary Graham
14. Overweight and obesity from a life course perspective, Chris Power and Tessa Parsons: Commentary William H Dietz
15. Sexually transmitted infections and health through the life course, Ronald H Gray, Maria J Wawer and David Serwadda: Commentary Andrew J Hall
16. Explaining Health and Disease Patterns Disease trends in women living in established market economies: evidence of cohort effects during the epidemiological transition, Diana Kuh, Isabel dos Santos Silva and Elizabeth Barrett-Connor: Commentary Dave Leon
17. The life course of Black women in South Africa in the 1990s:generation, age and period in the decade of HIV and political liberation, Zena Stein, Quarraisha Abdool Karim and Mervyn Susser: Commentary Yoav ben-Shlomo and George Davey Smith
18. Conclusions A life course approach to Women's health: linking the past, present and future, Diana Kuh and Rebecca Hardy

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