, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 1-4
Date: 12 Jan 2011

Social Determinants of Health at Different Phases of Life

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Social determinants of health, i.e., those conditions under which people are born, live, work, and grow old, shape population health in a systematic way [1].Unequal distribution of and access to resources such as power, education, income, goods, and services, influences social inequalities in health between countries and between groups of people within countries. The common features of social determinants of health are that they vary across time and space, that they accumulate throughout the life course, and that they act on multiple levels in a society ranging from upstream determinants in terms of social institutions and policies via intermediate levels of interpersonal social relationships and individual risk factors to downstream determinants of pathophysiologic bodily pathways (Fig. 1) [2]. Fig. 1

Upstream and downstream determinants of population health

This multilevel understanding of social determinants of health highlights the scope for reciprocal influences between the differen