Policy Press

Publishing with a Purpose

Social inequality and public health


22 Apr 2009

Page count

256 pages




240 x 172 mm


Policy Press
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Public health in the early 21st century increasingly considers how social inequalities impact on individual health, moving away from the focus on how disease relates to the individual person. This 'new public health' identifies how social, economic and political factors affect the level and distribution of individual health, through their effects on individual behaviours, the social groups people belong to, the character of relationships to others and the characteristics of the societies in which people live. The rising social inequalities that can be seen in nearly every country in the world today present not just a moral danger, but a mortal danger as well.

"Social inequality and public health" brings together the latest research findings from some of the most respected medical and social scientists in the world. It surveys four pathways to understanding the social determinants of health: differences in individual health behaviours; group advantage and disadvantage; psychosocial factors in individual health; and healthy and unhealthy societies, shedding light on the costs and consequences of today's high-inequality social models. 

This exciting book brings together leaders in the field discussing their latest research and is a must-read for anyone interested in public health and social inequalities internationally.

Salvatore J. Babones is a lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Social Policy at The University of Sydney. His work has appeared in the "Journal of Sociology, Social Science & Medicine", and the "Handbook of Social Problems". His most recent book is "Global Social Change: Historical and Comparative Perspectives" (2006), co-edited with Christopher Chase-Dunn. Salvatore Babones received his Ph.D. from The Johns Hopkins University in 2003.

Contents: Introduction ~ Salvatore Babones; Pathway one: Differences in individual health behaviours: The role of time preference and perspective in socio-economic inequalities in health related behaviors ~ Jean Adams; Examination of the built environment and prevalence of obesity ~ Tamara Dubowitz; Reinventing healthy and sustainable communities ~ Mary E. Northridge, Elliott D. Sclar, Annie Feighery, Maryann Z. Fiebach and Emily Karpel Kurtz; Pathway two: Group advantage and disadvantage: How and why do interventions that increase health overall widen inequalities within populations ~ Martin White, Jean Adams and Peter Heywood; A review of intergenerational socioeconomic factors and perinatal outcomes ~ Debbie Barrington; From adversary to ally: the evolution of non-governmental organizations in the context of health reform in Santiago and Montevideo ~ Javier Pereira Bruno and Ronald Angel; Pathway three: Psychosocial factors in individual health: Health inequalities and the role of work psychosocial factors: the Whitehall II study ~ Eric Brunner; Inequality, psychosocial health, and societal health: A model of inter-group conflict ~ Siddharth Chandra; The social epidemiology of population health during the time of transition from communism in Central and Eastern Europe ~ Arjumand Siddiqui, Martin Bobak and Clyde Hertzman; Pathway four: Health and unhealthy societies: The impact of inequality: empirical evidence ~ Richard Wilkinson; 'Public goods', metropolitan inequality and population health in comparative perspective: policy & theory ~ J James R. Dunn and Nancy A. Ross; From societal equity to individual health ~ Salvatore Babones; Public understanding of the new public health: Health, inequalities and mobilization: human rights and the millennium development goals ~ Paul Nelson; Promoting public understanding of population health ~ Stephen Bezruchka; Conclusion ~ Salvatore Babones.

"This book will form a very useful addition to the sparse canon of literature exploring the relationship between social inequality and health." Journal of Public Health

"... a fascinating collection of issues in modern public health research, policy and practice." Sociology of Health & Illness

'....a very accessible round-up of a selection of issues, some relevant to particular parts of the world, others of global significance.' Sociology of Health & Illness

"An exciting and wide ranging review of the new public health. This collection provides an efficient and intriguing introduction into what we now think most makes us healthy or ill." Daniel Dorling, Department of Geography, University of Sheffield

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