Key Concepts in Public Health identifies fifty key concepts used across the discipline of public health in order to give the reader a broad perspective of the core topics relevant to training and practice. From epidemiology to health promotion, and ethics to leadership, the book offers an exciting guide to the multiprofessional field. Each entry features a snapshot definition of the concept, a broader discussion addressing the main issues and links to practice, key points relevant to the entry, case studies to illustrate the application to practice, and examples of further reading.

Determinants of Health

Determinants of health


Health is classically defined as ‘a state of complete physical, social and mental health, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’ (WHO, 1948). As such, health is as much a social construct as a biological characteristic. It is the product of a complex interaction of different factors: this is true at both individual and population levels. These determinants include not just an individual's particular characteristics and behaviours but also their economic, physical and social environments (Ashton and Seymour, 1992).

Key Points

  • Health is created by a complicated interaction of different factors, only some of which can be directly influenced by individuals.
  • Social determinants tend to have a greater impact on population health status than healthcare services.
  • Different determinants have a differential influence ...
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