Monday, July 25, 2011

[EQ] Social determinants and the health of Indigenous Australians

Closing the Gap — Editorial

Social determinants and the health of Indigenous Australians

Michael Marmot - University College London, London, UK.

MJA 2011; 194 (10): 512-513 - The Medical Journal of Australia

……..Health is dependent on conditions that enable people to live lives they would choose to live……


Available online at:

“……Inequalities in health arise from inequalities in society. Small differences in society result in small health inequalities; large differences result in large health inequalities.1 Differences in access to health care matter, as do differences in lifestyle, but the key determinants of social inequalities in health lie in the circumstances in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age.

These, in turn, arise from differential access to power and resources. Such was the conclusion of the World Health Organization Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH).2 The CSDH had an optimistic tone. Reviewing evidence from around the world, and reaching judgements on what works, it concluded that it is indeed possible to make great progress in closing health gaps — in a generation.


The much-discussed 17-year gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians bespeaks large social inequalities.3 One can think of two classes of influence to which the remarkably poor health of Australian Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders can be ascribed. The first is social disadvantage and the second (common to other Indigenous groups) is the particular relationship of Indigenous Australians to mainstream society……”



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