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1.  The incorporation of gender perspective into Spanish health surveys 
Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health  2007;61(Suppl 2):ii20-ii25.
Background
Most studies into social determinants of health conducted in Spain based on data from health surveys have focused on social class inequalities. This paper aims to review the progressive incorporation of gender perspective and sex differences into health surveys in Spain, and to suggest design, data collection and analytical proposals as well as to make policy proposals.
Methods
Changes introduced into health surveys in Spain since 1995 to incorporate gender perspective are examined, and proposals for the future are made, which would permit the analysis of differences in health between women and men as a result of biology or because of gender inequalities.
Results
The introduction of gender perspective in health surveys requires the incorporation of questions related to family setting and reproductive work, workplace and society in general to detect gender differences and inequalities (for example, domestic work, intimate partner violence, discrimination, contract type or working hours). Health indicators reflecting differential morbidity and taking into account the different lifecycle stages must also be incorporated. Analyses ought to be disaggregated by sex and interpretation of results must consider the complex theoretical frameworks explaining the differences in health between men and women based on sex differences and those related to gender.
Conclusions
Analysis of survey data ought to consider the impact of social, political and cultural constructs of each society. Any significant modification in procedures for collection of data relevant to the study of gender will require systematic coordination between institutions generating the data and researchers who are trained in and sensitive to the topic.
doi:10.1136/jech.2007.059956
PMCID: PMC2465768  PMID: 18000111
gender; social inequalities in health; health surveys; social class
2.  Occupational epidemiology and work related inequalities in health: a gender perspective for two complementary approaches to work and health research 
Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health  2007;61(Suppl 2):ii39-ii45.
Objectives
To provide a framework for epidemiological research on work and health that combines classic occupational epidemiology and the consideration of work in a structural perspective focused on gender inequalities in health.
Methods
Gaps and limitations in classic occupational epidemiology, when considered from a gender perspective, are described. Limitations in research on work related gender inequalities in health are identified. Finally, some recommendations for future research are proposed.
Results
Classic occupational epidemiology has paid less attention to women's problems than men's. Research into work related gender inequalities in health has rarely considered either social class or the impact of family demands on men's health. In addition, it has rarely taken into account the potential interactions between gender, social class, employment status and family roles and the differences in social determinants of health according to the health indicator analysed.
Conclusions
Occupational epidemiology should consider the role of sex and gender in examining exposures and associated health problems. Variables should be used that capture the specific work environments and health conditions of both sexes. The analysis of work and health from a gender perspective should take into account the complex interactions between gender, family roles, employment status and social class.
doi:10.1136/jech.2007.059774
PMCID: PMC2465767  PMID: 18000116
gender; occupational health; socioeconomic factors; family characteristics
3.  Promoting LGBT health and wellbeing through inclusive policy development 
In this paper we argue the importance of including gender and sexually diverse populations in policy development towards a more inclusive form of health promotion. We emphasize the need to address the broad health and wellbeing issues and needs of LGBT people, rather than exclusively using an illness-based focus such as HIV/AIDS. We critically examine the limitations of population health, the social determinants of health (SDOH), and public health goals, in light of the lack of recognition of gender and sexually diverse individuals and communities. By first acknowledging the unique health and social care needs of LGBT people, then employing anti-oppressive, critical and intersectional analyses we offer recommendations for how to make population health perspectives, public health goals, and the design of public health promotion policy more inclusive of gender and sexual diversity. In health promotion research and practice, representation matters. It matters which populations are being targeted for health promotion interventions and for what purposes, and it matters which populations are being overlooked. In Canada, current health promotion policy is informed by population health and social determinants of health (SDOH) perspectives, as demonstrated by Public Health Goals for Canada. With Canada's multicultural makeup comes the challenge of ensuring that diverse populations are equitably and effectively recognized in public health and health promotion policy.
doi:10.1186/1475-9276-8-18
PMCID: PMC2698868  PMID: 19442315
4.  Is social stress in the first half of life detrimental to later physical and mental health in both men and women? 
European Journal of Ageing  2011;8(1):21-30.
This study examined gender differences in the associations between affection- and status-related stressors encountered in the first half of life and physical and mental health problems later on. Based on the theory of Social Production Functions (SPF) two hypotheses have been formulated, which were tested in a representative sample of 446 men and 514 women (aged 40–79). Main outcome measures were number of chronic somatic diseases and level of psychological distress. As expected, regression analyses showed no gender differences in the associations between affection-related stressors and physical and mental health problems later on. In contrast, but as also expected, status-related stressors encountered in the first half of life were associated with later physical and mental health for men only. It is concluded that the gender differences in the associations between earlier social stressors and later health problems may be more complex than the common assumption that men are only affected by status stress and women only by affection stress. This study contributes to the knowledge on gender differences concerning the link between social stress and health, and it indicates that social experiences encountered earlier in life are of importance for being healthy and happy in later life.
doi:10.1007/s10433-011-0178-4
PMCID: PMC3047705  PMID: 21475409
Social stressors; Gender; Social production function theory; Chronic somatic diseases; Psychological distress
5.  Comparing population health in the United States and Canada 
Background
The objective of the paper is to compare population health in the United States (US) and Canada. Although the two countries are very similar in many ways, there are potentially important differences in the levels of social and economic inequality and the organization and financing of and access to health care in the two countries.
Methods
Data are from the Joint Canada/United States Survey of Health 2002/03. The Health Utilities Index Mark 3 (HUI3) was used to measure overall health-related quality of life (HRQL). Mean HUI3 scores were compared, adjusting for major determinants of health, including body mass index, smoking, education, gender, race, and income. In addition, estimates of life expectancy were compared. Finally, mean HUI3 scores by age and gender and Canadian and US life tables were used to estimate health-adjusted life expectancy (HALE).
Results
Life expectancy in Canada is higher than in the US. For those < 40 years, there were no differences in HRQL between the US and Canada. For the 40+ group, HRQL appears to be higher in Canada. The results comparing the white-only population in both countries were very similar. For a 19-year-old, HALE was 52.0 years in Canada and 49.3 in the US.
Conclusions
The population of Canada appears to be substantially healthier than the US population with respect to life expectancy, HRQL, and HALE. Factors that account for the difference may include access to health care over the full life span (universal health insurance) and lower levels of social and economic inequality, especially among the elderly.
doi:10.1186/1478-7954-8-8
PMCID: PMC2873793  PMID: 20429875
6.  Social inequalities in blindness and visual impairment: A review of social determinants 
Indian Journal of Ophthalmology  2012;60(5):368-375.
Health inequities are related to social determinants based on gender, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, race, living in a specific geographic region, or having a specific health condition. Such inequities were reviewed for blindness and visual impairment by searching for studies on the subject in PubMed from 2000 to 2011 in the English and Spanish languages. The goal of this article is to provide a current review in understanding how inequities based specifically on the aforementioned social determinants on health influence the prevalence of visual impairment and blindness. With regards to gender inequality, women have a higher prevalence of visual impairment and blindness, which cannot be only reasoned based on age or access to service. Socioeconomic status measured as higher income, higher educational status, or non-manual occupational social class was inversely associated with prevalence of blindness or visual impairment. Ethnicity and race were associated with visual impairment and blindness, although there is general confusion over this socioeconomic position determinant. Geographic inequalities and visual impairment were related to income (of the region, nation or continent), living in a rural area, and an association with socioeconomic and political context was suggested. While inequalities related to blindness and visual impairment have rarely been specifically addressed in research, there is still evidence of the association of social determinants and prevalence of blindness and visual impairment. Additional research should be done on the associations with intermediary determinants and socioeconomic and political context.
doi:10.4103/0301-4738.100529
PMCID: PMC3491260  PMID: 22944744
Visual impairment; blindness; inequality; social class; income; educational status; gender and ethnic groups
7.  Can Tobacco Control Be Transformative? Reducing Gender Inequity and Tobacco Use among Vulnerable Populations  
Tobacco use and exposure is unequally distributed across populations and countries and among women and men. These trends and patterns reflect and cause gender and economic inequities along with negative health impacts. Despite a commitment to gender analysis in the preamble to Framework Convention on Tobacco Control there is much yet to be done to fully understand how gender operates in tobacco control. Policies, program and research in tobacco control need to not only integrate gender, but rather operationalize gender with the goal of transforming gender and social inequities in the course of tobacco control initiatives. Gender transformative tobacco control goes beyond gender sensitive efforts and challenges policy and program developers to apply gender theory in designing their initiatives, with the goal of changing negative gender and social norms and improving social, economic, health and social indicators along with tobacco reduction. This paper outlines what is needed to progress tobacco control in enhancing the status of gendered and vulnerable groups, with a view to reducing gender and social inequities due to tobacco use and exposure.
doi:10.3390/ijerph110100792
PMCID: PMC3924474  PMID: 24402065
gender; gender-transformative; tobacco use; tobacco exposure; women; men
8.  Towards age-friendly societies: from research to policy, from policy to society 
In order to promote the concept that old age is a dynamic stage of one’s life and that it should be regarded as an achievement—and not a disaster—for both, individuals and for societies, the World Health Organization launched in 2002 the Active Ageing Policy Framework in which Active Ageing is defined as “the process of optimizing opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age”.
Active ageing depends on a variety of influences or determinants that surround individuals, families and nations. They include material conditions as well as social factors that affect individual types of behaviour and feelings. All of these factors, and the interactions between them, play an important role in affecting how well individuals age. These determinants—namely: personal; physical environment; social; economic; behavioural and; access to health and social services within a background that emphasizes the importance of the cross-cutting influences of culture and gender—have to be understood from a life course perspective that recognizes that older persons are not a homogeneous group and that individual diversity increases with age.
Because active ageing is a lifelong process an age-friendly approach is not just ‘elderly friendly’: it benefits all age groups. From theory to practice the translation of the Active Ageing Framework required ways to demonstrate its applicability on the ground. Accordingly, WHO embarked on two parallel projects which will be described in detail at the Bridging Knowledge Conference:
1. Age friendly Primary Health Care (PHC)
The ultimate aim of health and social services should be that individuals can live for as long as possible enjoying the highest possible level of functional capacity for the longest possible period of time in their own communities. For that to happen it is essential to re-think the way Primary Health Care is conceived and delivered worldwide. Population ageing is happening within a background of rapid social change, a shift from infectious to chronic diseases and rising health care costs. Yet PHC is by and large not responding to these trends. In response to this, WHO developed over a period of five years a project involving 14 countries focused on how to make Primary Health Care Centres more age friendly. The ultimate aim of this project, developed over three consecutive stages, was to make available worldwide a toolkit on how to make a PHC facility more responsive to ageing. Its specific objectives were: to minimize the barriers to care; to promote age friendly attitudes and services; to ensure comprehensiveness of community based health care services; to increase geriatric knowledge and skills of community-based health care staff and; to support coordination and linkages with other community-based groups, services, and family.
2. Age friendly cities
The WHO age-friendly cities global project (AFC-GP) was launched in 2005. In March 2006 a core group of cities met in Vancouver to finalize the project protocol and within the next few months WHO and its partners from 33 cities from 22 countries implemented the qualitative research that led to the WHO Age friendly Cities Guide launched in 1 October 2007.
This project was conceived within the context of three major global trends shaping the 21st century: ageing; urbanization and globalization. The world is ageing fast, is increasingly more urbanized and more than ever before boundaries are becoming blurred, the world more globalized. It is also a practical application of the main call from the International Plan of Action of Ageing agreed by all nations at the World Assembly on Ageing, Madrid 2002 requesting ‘bottom up approaches’. Thus, the project is based on qualitative research asking older people themselves to identify the issues, concerns and recommendations for improving the environment in which they live around eight main domains: 1. outdoor spaces and buildings; 2. transportation; 3. housing; 4. social participation; 5. respect and social inclusion; 6. civic participation and employment; 7. communication and information; and 8. community support and health services.
Details of both projects can be found on: http://www.who.int/ageing/en
PMCID: PMC2707547
age-friendly programmes; ageing; research; policy
9.  Social determinants of health in Tunisia: the case-analysis of Ariana 
Background
Few research projects have analyzed how social determinants of health impact cities in North Africa. The sustained growth in these countries has nevertheless proven to exacerbate health disparities and create many social and economic inequalities. This strategic analysis examines selected social determinants of health in a major urban centre of Tunisia, identifies the most influential stakeholders able to influence equity/inequity, and reviews the accomplishments and need for action to foster health equity.
Methods
This analysis was performed through a literature review and participatory research methods that included focus groups discussions and interview with key informants.
Results
Access to health care, changes in lifestyles, housing issues and gender-related inequities are prime, socially-determined elements that affect health in Ariana.
Conclusion
Recognition of emerging health issues is needed along with improved inter and intrasectoral coordination among stakeholders. The community-participatory approach used in this paper proved to be a useful scoping technique for this setting. A similar methodology could be used by other researchers as a first step toward health equity action at a city level.
doi:10.1186/1475-9276-8-9
PMCID: PMC2670305  PMID: 19344503
10.  Gender equality in couples and self-rated health - A survey study evaluating measurements of gender equality and its impact on health 
Background
Men and women have different patterns of health. These differences between the sexes present a challenge to the field of public health. The question why women experience more health problems than men despite their longevity has been discussed extensively, with both social and biological theories being offered as plausible explanations. In this article, we focus on how gender equality in a partnership might be associated with the respondents' perceptions of health.
Methods
This study was a cross-sectional survey with 1400 respondents. We measured gender equality using two different measures: 1) a self-reported gender equality index, and 2) a self-perceived gender equality question. The aim of comparison of the self-reported gender equality index with the self-perceived gender equality question was to reveal possible disagreements between the normative discourse on gender equality and daily practice in couple relationships. We then evaluated the association with health, measured as self-rated health (SRH). With SRH dichotomized into 'good' and 'poor', logistic regression was used to assess factors associated with the outcome. For the comparison between the self-reported gender equality index and self-perceived gender equality, kappa statistics were used.
Results
Associations between gender equality and health found in this study vary with the type of gender equality measurement. Overall, we found little agreement between the self-reported gender equality index and self-perceived gender equality. Further, the patterns of agreement between self-perceived and self-reported gender equality were quite different for men and women: men perceived greater gender equality than they reported in the index, while women perceived less gender equality than they reported. The associations to health were depending on gender equality measurement used.
Conclusions
Men and women perceive and report gender equality differently. This means that it is necessary not only to be conscious of the methods and measurements used to quantify men's and women's opinions of gender equality, but also to be aware of the implications for health outcomes.
doi:10.1186/1475-9276-10-37
PMCID: PMC3167759  PMID: 21871087
gender equality; health; index; gender differences
11.  A framework to analyse gender bias in epidemiological research 
Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health  2007;61(Suppl 2):ii46-ii53.
The design and analysis of research may cause systematic gender dependent errors to be produced in results because of gender insensitivity or androcentrism. Gender bias in research could be defined as a systematically erroneous gender dependent approach related to social construct, which incorrectly regards women and men as similar/different.
Most gender bias can be found in the context of discovery (development of hypotheses), but it has also been found in the context of justification (methodological process), which must be improved. In fact, one of the main effects of gender bias in research is partial or incorrect knowledge in the results, which are systematically different from the real values.
This paper discusses some forms of conceptual and methodological bias that may affect women's health. It proposes a framework to analyse gender bias in the design and analysis of research carried out on women's and men's health problems, and on specific women's health issues.
Using examples, the framework aims to show the different theoretical perspectives in a social or clinical research context where forms of selection, measurement and confounding bias are produced as a result of gender insensitivity. Finally, this paper underlines the importance of re‐examining results so that they may be reinterpreted to produce new gender based knowledge.
doi:10.1136/jech.2007.062034
PMCID: PMC2465769  PMID: 18000118
androcentrism; gender bias; sex differences
12.  Gender Differences in the Influence of Social Support on One-Year Changes in Functional Status in Older Patients with Heart Failure 
The purpose of this study was to determine the combined effects of gender and levels of social support on 1-year functional health outcomes in older persons diagnosed with heart failure (HF). Persons ≥ 65 years of age with an acute HF exacerbation (164 females; 271 males) were enrolled and followed for a year. Participants completed baseline and 12-month questionnaires containing clinical and demographic descriptive information and validated self-report measures of: (1) physical functioning (Medical Outcome Study [MOS] SF12 and Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire [KCCQ]) and (2) social support (MOS- Social Support Survey). Women were more likely to be single, widowed or divorced, living alone and earning less annual income. At baseline, women reported significantly lower support and physical function scores. However, at 1 year there were no significant gender differences in the proportion of men or women who experienced clinically meaningful functional decline or death across the year of follow-up. In multivariable modeling, men with lower levels of social support were more likely to experience functional decline. This was not the case for women. Our findings suggest that gender-directed strategies to promote optimization of function for both men and women living with HF in their community are warranted.
doi:10.1155/2012/616372
PMCID: PMC3432365  PMID: 22957296
13.  Gender Differences in Functional Health and Mortality Among the Chinese Elderly 
Research on aging  2009;31(3):361-388.
In this study, the authors focused on older adults in Beijing with three objectives: to examine gender differences in functional health and mortality at the end of a five-year study period, controlling for initial functional health; to determine the extent to which these differences were a function of exposure versus vulnerability to risk factors; and to analyze the relative importance of social, economic, and psychological risk factors in explaining gender differences. The results show that women were more likely to survive and to be functionally dependent at follow-up compared with men among those functionally independent at baseline. No significant differences among those who were initially dependent were apparent. Differential vulnerability to risk factors, more so than exposure, explained the variation in health outcomes across gender. Smoking, a lack of formal education, a lack of health insurance, a low sense of control, stressful events, and rural living played large roles in explaining the differences.
doi:10.1177/0164027508330725
PMCID: PMC2919173  PMID: 20703370
gender; mortality; functional status; aging; China
14.  Gender differences and determinants of health related quality of life in coronary patients: a follow-up study 
Background
The role of gender differences in Health Related Quality Life (HRQL) in coronary patients is controversial, so understanding the specific determinants of HRQL in men and women might be of clinical importance. The aim of this study was to know the gender differences in the evolution of HRQL at 3 and 6 months after a coronary event, and to identify the key clinical, demographic and psychological characteristics of each gender associated with these changes.
Methods
A follow-up study was carried out, and 175 patients (112 men and 63 women) with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) or unstable angina were studied. The SF-36v1 health questionnaire was used to assess HRQL, and the GHQ-28 (General Health Questionnaire) to measure mental health during follow-up. To study the variables related to changes in HRQL, generalized estimating equation (GEE) models were performed.
Results
Follow-up data were available for 55 men and 25 women at 3 months, and for 35 men and 12 women at 6 months. Observations included: a) Revascularization was performed later in women. b) The frequency of rehospitalization between months 3 and 6 of follow-up was higher in women c) Women had lower baseline scores in the SF-36. d) Men had progressed favourably in most of the physical dimensions of the SF-36 at 6 months, while at the same time women's scores had only improved for Physical Component Summary, Role Physical and Social Functioning; e) the variables determining the decrease in HRQL in men were: worse mental health and angina frequency; and in women: worse mental health, history of the disease, revascularization, and angina frequency.
Conclusions
There are differences in the evolution of HRQL, between men and women after a coronary attack. Mental health is the determinant most frequently associated with HRQL in both genders. However, other clinical determinants of HRQL differed with gender, emphasizing the importance of individualizing the intervention and the content of rehabilitation programs. Likewise, the recognition and treatment of mental disorders in these patients could be crucial.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-11-24
PMCID: PMC3125287  PMID: 21619566
Gender; HRQL; SF-36; Coronary patients
15.  Reorienting women's health in low- and middle-income countries: the case of depression and Type 2 diabetes 
Global Health Action  2014;7:10.3402/gha.v7.22803.
Women's health in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) has historically focused on sexual and reproductive health. However, understanding how women acquire, experience, and treat non-reproductive health conditions, such as non-communicable diseases, has become a fundamental public health concern. Special attention to the social determinants of LMIC women's health can provide socially and culturally relevant knowledge for implementation of policies and programs for women increasingly confronting these ‘New Challenge Diseases’. This article uses the example of depression and Type 2 diabetes comorbidity to illustrate how attending to the social determinants of mental and physical health beyond the reproductive years contributes to a more holistic agenda for women's health. For instance, we must address the plurality of experiences that shape women's health from social determinants of depression, such as gendered subjugation within the home and public sphere, to the structural determinants of obesity and diabetes, such as poor access to healthy foods and health care. Attending to the complexities of health and social well-being beyond the reproductive years helps the women's global health agenda capture the full spectrum of health concerns, particularly the chronic and non-communicable conditions that emerge as life expectancy increases.
doi:10.3402/gha.v7.22803
PMCID: PMC3888885  PMID: 24433943
women's health; depression; Type 2 diabetes; life course; social determinants; epidemiological transition
16.  Self-Rated Health: Inequalities and Potential Determinants 
Understanding social inequalities in health is of great importance; it provides the conceptual frame for investigating the social factors that affect health, together with empirical evidence for improving population health. Individual and socioeconomic data, disease related conditions and self rated health (SRH) ratings were collected from a representative sample of 1,000 participants in order to study health inequalities in Greece. 20.8% of men and 37.2% of women reported poor health status. Significant inequalities in SRH were observed. Strong associations of poor SRH with gender, age, insurance coverage and chronic diseases were identified. Social insurance scheme captured partly the effects of educational level, income and residence area in SRH in multivariate analysis. Respondents under chronic treatment and those suffering from cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and neurological/psychiatric disorders exhibited the highest risk of reporting poor SRH. Our findings provide decision-makers with insights into how to manage health inequalities by prioritizing preventive measures and consequently, progress towards the fair distribution of healthcare resources.
doi:10.3390/ijerph6092456
PMCID: PMC2760422  PMID: 19826556
self-rated health; health inequalities; social determinants; chronic diseases; Greece
17.  Gender policies and advertising and marketing practices that affect women's health 
Global Health Action  2013;6:10.3402/gha.v6i0.20372.
Background
The three papers of this doctoral thesis are based on the social construction of reality through the analysis of communication relating to health issues. We have analysed the contents of parliamentary, institutional, and mass media to uncover whether their communications create, transmit, and perpetuate gender biases and/or stereotypes, which may have an impact on people's health, with a particular focus on women.
Objective
To analyse decision making and the creation of gender awareness policies and actions affecting women's health: (1) political debates about abortion, (2) gender awareness communication campaigns and educational actions, and (3) pharmaceutical advertising strategies.
Design
Quantitative and qualitative methods were employed, and the research included observational studies and systematic reviews. To apply a gender perspective, we used the level of gender observation proposed by S. Harding, which states that: (1) gender is the basis of social norms and (2) gender is one of the organisers of the social structure.
Results
Sixty percentage of the bills concerning abortion introduced in the Spanish Parliament were initiated and led by pro-choice women's groups. Seventy-nine percent of institutional initiatives aimed at promoting equality awareness and were in the form of educational actions, while unconventional advertising accounted for 6 percent. Both initiatives focused on occupational equality, and very few actions addressed issues such as shared responsibility or public policy. With regard to pharmaceutical advertising, similar traditional male–female gender roles were used between 1975 and 2005.
Conclusions
Gender sensitivity continues to be essential in changing the established gender system in Spanish institutions, which has a direct and indirect impact on health. Greater participation of women in public policy and decision-making are critical for womens’ health, such as the issue of abortion. The predominance of women as the target group of institutional gender awareness campaigns proves that the gender perspective still lacks the promotion of shared responsibilities between men and women. There is a need for institutions that act as ‘policy watchdogs’ to control the gender biases in mass media and pharmaceutical marketing as well as to ensure the proper implementation and maintenance of Spanish equality laws.
doi:10.3402/gha.v6i0.20372
PMCID: PMC3695283  PMID: 23806207
abortion; public policy; work-family reconciliation; pharmaceutical advertising; gender awareness communication campaigns; gender bias
18.  Social capital and risk and protective behaviors: a global health perspective 
Social capital and health research has emerged as a focus of contemporary behavioral epidemiology, while intervention research is seeking more effective measures to increase health protective behaviors and decrease health-risk behaviors. In this review we explored current literature on social capital and health outcomes at the micro-, mesa-, and macro-levels with a particular emphasis on research that incorporates a social capital framework, and adolescent and young adult engagement in risk behaviors. These data indicate that across a broad range of socio-cultural and economic contexts, social capital can affect individuals' risk for negative health outcomes and their engagement in risk behaviors. Further research is needed which should focus on differentiating and measuring positive and negative social capital within both mainstream and alternative social networks, assessing how social constructions of gender, ethnicity, and race – within specific cultural contexts – mediate the relationship between social capital and risk and/or protective behaviors. This new research should integrate the existing research within historical socioeconomic and political conditions. In addition, social capital scales need to be developed to be both culturally and developmentally appropriate for use with adolescents living in a diversity of settings. Despite the proliferation of social capital research, the concept remains underutilized in both assessment and intervention development for adolescents' and young adults' engagement in risk behaviors and their associated short- and long-term poor health outcomes.
doi:10.2147/AHMT.S26560
PMCID: PMC3521560  PMID: 23243387
social capital; global health; risk behaviors
19.  Social capital and risk and protective behaviors: a global health perspective 
Social capital and health research has emerged as a focus of contemporary behavioral epidemiology, while intervention research is seeking more effective measures to increase health protective behaviors and decrease health-risk behaviors. In this review we explored current literature on social capital and health outcomes at the micro-, mesa-, and macro-levels with a particular emphasis on research that incorporates a social capital framework, and adolescent and young adult engagement in risk behaviors. These data indicate that across a broad range of socio-cultural and economic contexts, social capital can affect individuals’ risk for negative health outcomes and their engagement in risk behaviors. Further research is needed which should focus on differentiating and measuring positive and negative social capital within both mainstream and alternative social networks, assessing how social constructions of gender, ethnicity, and race – within specific cultural contexts – mediate the relationship between social capital and risk and/or protective behaviors. This new research should integrate the existing research within historical socioeconomic and political conditions. In addition, social capital scales need to be developed to be both culturally and developmentally appropriate for use with adolescents living in a diversity of settings. Despite the proliferation of social capital research, the concept remains underutilized in both assessment and intervention development for adolescents’ and young adults’ engagement in risk behaviors and their associated short- and long-term poor health outcomes.
doi:10.2147/AHMT.S26560
PMCID: PMC3521560  PMID: 23243387
social capital; global health; risk behaviors
20.  Out of sync? Demographic and other social science research on health conditions in developing countries 
Demographic research  2011;24(2):45-78.
In this paper, we present a framework for considering whether the marginal social benefits of demographic and social science research on various health conditions in developing countries are likely to be relatively high. Based on this framework, we argue that the relative current and future predicted prevalence of burdens of different health/disease conditions, as measured by disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), provide a fairly accurate reflection of some important factors related to the relative marginal social benefits of demographic and social science research on different health conditions. World Health Organization (WHO) DALYs projections for 2005–30 are compared with (a) demographic and other social science studies on health in developing countries during 1990–2005, and (b) presentations made at the Population Association of America annual meetings during the same time period. These comparisons suggest that recent demographic and social science research on health in developing countries has focused too much on HIV/AIDS, and too little on non-communicable diseases.
doi:10.4054/DemRes.2011.24.2
PMCID: PMC3097127  PMID: 21603127
21.  Social Determinants of Self-Reported Health in Women and Men: Understanding the Role of Gender in Population Health 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e34799.
Background
Women and men share similar health challenges yet women report poorer health. The study investigates the social determinants of self-reported health in women and men, and male-female differences in health.
Methods
Data on 103154 men and 125728 women were analysed from 57 countries in the World Health Survey 2002–2004. Item Response Theory was used to construct a composite measure of health. Associations between health and determinants were assessed using multivariate linear regression. Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition partitioned the inequality in health between women and men into an “explained" component that arises because men and women differ in social and economic characteristics, and an “unexplained" component due to the differential effects of these characteristics. Decomposition was repeated for 18 countries in the World Health Organization (WHO) African region and 19 countries in the WHO European region.
Results
Women's health was significantly lower than men's. Health was associated with education, household economic status, employment, and marital status after controlling for age. In the pooled analysis decomposition showed that 30% of the inequality was “explained", of which almost 75% came from employment, education, marital status. The differential effects of being in paid employment increased the inequality. When countries in Africa and Europe were compared, the “explained" component (31% and 39% respectively) was largely attributed to the social determinants in the African countries and to women's longevity in the European countries. Being in paid employment had a greater positive effect on the health of males in both regions.
Conclusions
Ways in which age and the social determinants contribute to the poorer health status of women compared with men varies between groups of countries. This study highlights the need for action to address social structures, institutional discrimination and harmful gender norms and roles that differently influence health with ageing.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0034799
PMCID: PMC3326052  PMID: 22514667
22.  Sex, drugs and gender roles: mapping the use of sex and gender based analysis in pharmaceutical policy research 
Background
Sex and gender sensitive inquiry is critical in pharmaceutical policy due to the sector's historical connection with women's health issues and due to the confluence of biological, social, political, and economic factors that shape the development, promotion, use, and effects of medicinal treatments. A growing number of research bodies internationally have issued laws, guidance or encouragement to support conducting sex and gender based analysis (SGBA) in all health related research.
Methods
In order to investigate the degree to which attempts to mainstream SGBA have translated into actual research practices in the field of pharmaceutical policy, we employed methods of literature scoping and mapping. A random sample of English-language pharmaceutical policy research articles published in 2008 and indexed in MEDLINE was analysed according to: 1) use of sex and gender related language, 2) application of sex and gender related concepts, and 3) level of SGBA employed.
Results
Two thirds of the articles (67%) in our sample made no mention of sex or gender. Similarly, 69% did not contain any sex or gender related content whatsoever. Of those that did contain some sex or gender content, the majority focused on sex. Only 2 of the 85 pharmaceutical policy articles reviewed for this study were primarily focused on sex or gender issues; both of these were review articles. Eighty-one percent of the articles in our study contained no SGBA, functioning instead at a sex-blind or gender-neutral level, even though the majority of these (86%) were focused on topics with sex or gender aspects.
Conclusions
Despite pharmaceutical policy's long entwinement with issues of sex and gender, and the emergence of international guidelines for the inclusion of SGBA in health research, the community of pharmaceutical policy researchers has not internalized, or "mainstreamed," the practice. Increased application of SGBA is, in most cases, not only appropriate for the topics under investigation, but well within the reach of today's pharmaceutical policy researchers.
doi:10.1186/1475-9276-9-26
PMCID: PMC3000380  PMID: 21092111
23.  Does socioeconomic status affect the association of social relationships and health? A moderator analysis 
Background
Social relations have repeatedly been found to be an important determinant of health. However, it is unclear whether the association between social relations and health is consistent throughout different status groups. It is likely that health effects of social relations vary in different status groups, as stated in the hypothesis of differential vulnerability. In this analysis we explore whether socioeconomic status (SES) moderates the association between social relations and health.
Methods
In the baseline examination of the Heinz Nixdorf Recall study, conducted in a dense populated Western German region (N = 4,814, response rate 56%), SES was measured by income and education. Social relations were classified by using both structural as well as functional measures. The Social Integration Index was used as a structural measure, whilst functional aspects were assessed by emotional and instrumental support. Health was indicated by self-rated health (1 item) and a short version of the CES-D scale measuring the frequency of depressive symptoms. Based on logistic regression models we calculated the relative excess risk due to interaction (RERI) which indicates existing moderator effects.
Results
Our findings show highest odds ratios (ORs) for both poor self-rated health and more frequent depressive symptoms when respondents have a low SES as well as inappropriate social relations. For example, respondents with low income and a low level of social integration have an OR for a high depression score of 2.85 (95% CI 2.32-4.49), compared to an OR of 1.44 (95% CI 1.12-1.86) amongst those with a low income but a high level of social integration and an OR of 1.72 (95% CI 1.45-2.03) amongst respondents with high income but a low level of social integration. As reference group those reporting high income and a high level of social integration were used.
Conclusions
The analyses indicate that the association of social relations and subjective health differs across SES groups as we find moderating effects of SES. However, results are inconsistent as nearly all RERI scores are positive but do not reach a significant level. Also moderating effects vary between women and men and depending on the indicators of SES and social relations used. Thus, the hypothesis of differential vulnerability can only partially be supported. In terms of practical implications, psychosocial and health interventions aiming towards the enhancement of social relations should especially consider the situation of the socially deprived.
doi:10.1186/1475-9276-10-43
PMCID: PMC3216239  PMID: 21995609
24.  The demographic and social class basis of inequality in self reported morbidity: an exploration using the Health Survey for England 
Study objectives: To assess the relative contribution of age and social class to variations in the prevalence of a selection of self reported health problems. To examine the implications of observed variations for research on health inequalities.
Design: Secondary analysis of the Health Survey for England (1991–1997) using morbidities that are particularly prone to class effects. A statistical measure of the "relative class effect" is introduced to compare the effects of adjusting for social class and age.
Main results: There is substantial variation in the relative importance of the age and class distributions of different diseases. Age effects often overshadow those of class even for conditions where an apparently strong social gradient exists. Only for self reported mental health among women does the social gradient exceed the age gradient. Within the context of a dominating age gradient, social gradients are relatively high for mental health and general health for both sexes. Variation in the relative strengths of the social gradients between the sexes are observed for angina symptoms.
Conclusions: Given variations in the "relative class effect", analysis recognising the distinct contributions of age, sex, and social class to specific morbidities is advocated as a transparent and robust approach to the assessment of morbidity based inequality.
doi:10.1136/jech.2002.003475
PMCID: PMC1732732  PMID: 15026443
25.  Reinventing public health: A New Perspective on the Health of Canadians and its international impact 
Study objective
To examine the Canadian origins of the Lalonde Report and its impact on British and American health promotion activities.
Design:
A brief history of the development of key Canadian documents and their use by politicians and public health activists in the United Kingdom and United States.
Setting:
This paper focuses on the impact of the Canadian model on Canada, the United Kingdom and United States.
Main results:
This paper argues that internal political and economic forces are as important as international trends in determining healthcare policy initiatives.
Conclusions:
In the 1970s all the English‐speaking developed nations were facing deficits as curative costs rose. Adopting health promotion policies permitted them to shift responsibility back to local governments and individuals while limiting their expenditures. Health and community activists, however, used this concept to broaden their focus to include the social, economic and political determinants of health and thus reinvented public health discourse and practice for the 21st century.
doi:10.1136/jech.2006.046912
PMCID: PMC2465617  PMID: 17933952

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