Socioeconomic Status and Health

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Socioeconomic status is inversely associated with mortality and almost all measures of morbidity in terms of a social gradient that runs from the bottom to the top of society. The social inequalities are highest for drug-related diseases and injuries but are also high for cardiovascular diseases. The most clear-cut reason is social differences in lifestyle, which may explain about half of the health inequalities. The rest of the prevailing health inequalities in affluent societies may be explained by materialistic and psychosocial factors. The high and increasing inequalities in health in the most advanced welfare states are more difficult to explain. Inequalities in health between people in higher and lower social positions show that preventing many diseases and premature deaths is possible. In spite of governmental plans for reducing the divides in most affluent countries, social inequalities in health still seem to increase. A commission under the World Health Organization launched in 2008 a report proposing our leaders and popular movements to start a comprehensive move in policies to reduce social inequalities in the world's health.




Claussen, B. (2015). Socioeconomic Status and Health. In International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences: Second Edition (pp. 931–936). Elsevier Inc.

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