Social Determinants of Health Equity [editorial]

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Social Determinants of Health Equity. American Journal of Public Health: September 2014, Vol. 104, No. S4, pp. S517-S519.
doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302200

Social Determinants of Health Equity [editorial]
Authors: Michael Marmot, PhD, and Jessica J. Allen, PhD

Language is important. The call for papers in this supplement was entitled health equity. Yet the call asked for papers that address disparities in health. In the United States, disparities, most often, has been used to refer to racial/ethnic differences in health, or more commonly health care. We note that the call in this supplement expands the focus and highlights differences by socioeconomic status and geographic location, among others. By tradition, in the United Kingdom we have used the term inequalities to describe the differences in health between groups defined on the basis of socioeconomic conditions. To reduce health inequalities requires action to reduce socioeconomic and other inequalities. There are other factors that influence health, but these are outweighed by the overwhelming impact of social and economic factors—the material, social, political, and cultural conditions that shape our lives and our behaviors. Much of the evidence describing this was set out in the World Health Organization Global Commission on the Social Determinants of Health….

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