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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(12), 13074-13083; doi:10.3390/ijerph111213074

Difference in Health Inequity between Two Population Groups due to a Social Determinant of Health

Office of Minority Health and Health Equity, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Highway, Mailstop K77, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA
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Received: 25 July 2014 / Revised: 21 November 2014 / Accepted: 9 December 2014 / Published: 16 December 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eliminating Health Disparities to Achieve Health Equity)
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Abstract

The World Health Organization defines social determinants of health as “complex, integrated, and overlapping social structures and economic systems” that are responsible for most health inequities. Similar to the individual-level risk factors such as behavioral and biological risk factors that influence disease, we consider social determinants of health such as the distribution of income, wealth, influence and power as risk factors for risk of disease. We operationally define health inequity in a disease within a population due to a risk factor that is unfair and avoidable as the difference between the disease outcome with and without the risk factor in the population. We derive expressions for difference in health inequity between two populations due to a risk factor that is unfair and avoidable for a given disease. The difference in heath inequity between two population groups due to a risk factor increases with increasing difference in relative risks and the difference in prevalence of the risk factor in the two populations. The difference in health inequity could be larger than the difference in health outcomes between the two populations in some situations. Compared to health disparities which are typically measured and monitored using absolute or relative disparities of health outcomes, the methods presented in this manuscript provide a different, yet complementary, picture because they parse out the contributions of unfair and avoidable risk factors. View Full-Text
Keywords: social determinants of health; health inequity; population attributable risk social determinants of health; health inequity; population attributable risk
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Moonesinghe, R.; Bouye, K.; Penman-Aguilar, A. Difference in Health Inequity between Two Population Groups due to a Social Determinant of Health. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11, 13074-13083.

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