Academic journal article Perspectives in Public Health

The Health Gap: The Challenge of an Unequal World

Academic journal article Perspectives in Public Health

The Health Gap: The Challenge of an Unequal World

Article excerpt

The Health Gap: The Challenge of an Unequal World. Edited by M. Marmot. Published by Bloomsbury Publishing: London, 2015. Hardback, 400 pp. ISBN: 9781408857991.

Many readers will be familiar with Michael Marmot's seminal work on health inequalities and inequities, from the Whitehall Studies of the 1970s to the World Health Organization Commission on the Determinants of Health published in 2008 and the Marmot Review which was commissioned by the Labour government and reported in 2010.

This book gives an in-depth and clear exploration of economic inequality and inequity and their impact on the health of individuals and communities. Looking at the 'causes of the causes', Marmot uses vignettes of the lives of people and communities around the world to illustrate the effects of economic deprivation, ethnicity, social status, community cohesion and culture on life expectancy and quality of life. His stories clearly show the relationship between wealth and health - often demonstrating the ill effects of poverty and poor quality work on health and wellbeing - and the importance of equality of opportunity and outcome in life. Material deprivation and disempowerment clearly lead to fewer choices and opportunities and poorer outcomes.

Marmot charts health inequity through the life course, emphasising the importance of a good start in life through positive maternal and child health and access to good quality early years education and family support services. Progressing through education and working life to retirement and old age, Marmot makes comparison between different nations' policies and outcomes - demonstrating the better outcomes of more equal and cohesive societies. …

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