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Healthier SocietiesFrom Analysis to Action$
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Jody Heymann, Clyde Hertzman, Morris L. Barer, and Robert G. Evans

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195179200

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195179200.001.0001

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A Life Course Approach to Health and Human Development

A Life Course Approach to Health and Human Development

(p.83) Chapter 4 A Life Course Approach to Health and Human Development
Healthier Societies

Clyde Hertzman

Chris Power

Oxford University Press

This chapter expands on the idea that the health status of populations cannot be adequately understood without recognizing health-determining influences across the life course. It begins by discussing socioeconomic gradients in health and development in childhood and young adulthood, and their effects in later life. It then presents three models (latency, cumulative, and pathways) that explain the possible connections between long-term exposure to various circumstances and their manifestation as different health and well-being outcomes, and explores the evidence illustrating each relationship. Finally, it discusses policy implications, concluding that health policies should be based on the understanding that problems emerging today may be related to life experiences that occurred years or decades earlier, and that the range of social and economic policy decisions made today will affect future health profiles.

Keywords:   life course, health, latency model, cumulative model, pathways model, policy

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