Social Determinants of Health / Edition 2

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Written by acknowledged experts in each field, it provides accessible summaries of the scientific justification for isolating aspects of social and economic life as the primary determinants of a population's health. The new edition takes account of the most recent research and also includes additional chapters on ethnicity and health, sexual behaviors, the elderly, housing and neighborhoods. Recognition of the power of socioeconomic factors as determinants of health came initially from research on health inequalities. This has led to a view of health as not simply about individual behavior or exposure to risk, but how the socially and economically structured way of life of a population shapes its health. Thus exercise and accidents are as much about a society's transport system as about individual choice. But a major new element in the picture we have developed is the importance of the social, pr psycho-social, environment to health. For example, health in the workplace for most emplyees - certainly for office workers - is less a matter of exposure to physical health hazards as of the social environment, of how supportive it is, whether people have control over their work, whether their jobs are secure. A similar picture emerges in other areas ranging from the health importance of the emotional environment in early childhood to the need for more socially cohesive communities.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Review from the previous edition

"Excellent...[a] wide-ranging review of empirical evidence and discussion of its implications."--Chronic Diseases in Canada

"Marmot & Wilkinson have made a timely addition to the maturing field of health and health policy research. This volume should be relevant to anyone interested in health determinants, given its clear organization and concise writing."--Social Science & Medicine

"It is a dense, fascinating and wide-ranging excellent primer for those who wish to engage in the debate about how this policy can be taken forward to make a real difference to the lives of the people whose deprivations are analyses in its pages."--Health Matters

"The book surveys the effects of social inequality on health and offers a forum in which these can be linked with more obvious influences."--Times Higher Education Supplement

"At the core of The Social Determinants of Health is the groudbreaking Whitehall found that wealth and status are the crucial factors in health and longevity."--The Guardian

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Sanija Bajramovic, MD (Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine)
Description: Health is a multidimensional entity. Likewise, there are multiple factors responsible to maintain or disrupt its balance. The editors of this book attempt to deliver research-based information that demonstrates clear relationships between various social conditions and health of community with special reference to European countries. The editors have assembled 12 chapters written by 22 contributors from four countries.
Purpose: The purpose is to offer useful tools for policy makers by summarizing some of the important research findings regarding social factors that are critical for disease prevention and health promotion.
Audience: This book is written for graduate level students and practitioners in public health and public health policy. The contributors are involved in the appropriate field of study. Because of their experience and expertise they can make appropriate recommendations for policy for each kind of social condition they write on to improve community health.
Features: The first chapter begins with an overall introduction to the subject matter. In subsequent chapters contributors address various social conditions including stress, biological condition of the mother, economy, psychological environment, transportation, social support, social cohesion, food, poverty, minorities, and health behaviors (i.e., smoking) and their relationships with the health status of the community. The editors and contributors point out very important issues in public health that have not been discussed in this magnitude before (i.e., smoking rates and the impact of health education). Contributors point out how health education is critical and yet is not effective on its own to reduce the rates of smoking among lower socio-economic groups. Such education needs to be accompanied by policy and environmental changes. Specific policy recommendations are included in most chapter discussions. Some very interesting diagrammatic illustrations have also been included. Overall, a better diagrammatic, graphical, or pictorial presentation could improve the quality of the book. The book ends with an epilogue that points out the WHO's "Health for All" initiative and how policy on social conditions may be a key factor in meeting the goals and objectives of this initiative.
Assessment: Although many other community and public health textbooks and articles have mentioned or touched on this subject matter, personally I have not read any book that has focused just on social determinants of health and their power to improve global health. The editors give legitimate reasons and appropriate tools for policy makers so that they can justify their proposals. The subject matter can also stimulate some thought provoking discussions in the classroom as well as debate among policy makers. This is a significant contribution to the field of public health.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198565895
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 11/24/2005
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 376
  • Sales rank: 705,520
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 6.60 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Marmot is Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health, and Director of the International Centre for Health and Society, at the University College London. His research interests centre on the epidemiology and prevention of cardiovascular disease with a particular focus on alcohol, nutrition, and social and cultural determinants of disease. Richard Wilkinson is visiting professor in the International centre for Health and Society at UCL and senior research fellow at the Trafford Centre for medical Research at the University of Sussex. He has been involved in research on the social and economic determinants of health for 20 years.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction, Michael Marmot
2. Social organization, stress and health, Eric Brunner and Michael Marmot
3. Early life, Michael Marmot and Suzie Butterworth
4. The life course, the social gradient and health, David Blane
5. Health and labour market disadvantage: unemployment, non-employment and job insecurity, Mel Bartley, Jane Ferrie and Scott M Montgomery
6. Health and the psychosocial environment at work, Michael Marmot, Johannes Siegrist and Tores Theorell
7. Transport and health, Mark McCarthy
8. Social supoort and social cohesion, Stephen A Stansfeld
9. Food is a political issue, Aileen Robertson, Eric Brunner and Aubrey Sheiham
10. Poverty, social exclusion, and minorities, Mary Shaw, Danny Dorlin and George Davey Smith
11. Social patterning of individual health behaviours: the case of cigarette smoking, Martin J Jarvis and Jane Wardle
12. The social determination of ethnic/racial inequalities in health, james Y Nazroo and David R Williams
13. Social determinants of health in older age, Anne McMunn, Elizabeth Breeze, Alissa Goodman, James Nazroo and Zoe Oldfield
14. Neighbourhoods, housing and health, Mai Stafford and Mark McCarthy
15. Social determinants, sexual behaviour and sexual health, Anne M Johnson, Catherine H Mercer, Jackie A Cassell
16. Ourselves and others - for better or worse: Social vulnerability and inequality, Richard G Wilkinson
Epilogue, Agis Tsouros

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