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Lecture 3 Study Notes

Health Studies
Course Code
Jason Ramsay
Study Guide

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Lecture #3: Biological Basis of Human DevelopmentGenes, Environment, Brian Development
Monday, January 24th/2011
What is the gradient?”
How is it related to health?
How does the environment interact with genetics?
How does the environment interact with genetics?
How does this affect early development?
Models for how this affects later outcomes
The Gradient
Common pattern of increase or decrease in a health outcome variable related to an increase or decrease in a measure of
socioeconomic status (SES)
Gradient effects on:
oIncreasing health status
oIncreasing neurocognitive status
Within a Social Determinants of Health Perspective
The idea of the gradient in predicting/accounting for health outcomes springs from the social determinants of health”
This perspective argues that risk factors operating at the population level, that are socially distributed are as important as
individual risk factors
oE.g. smoking versus percentage of country below the poverty line
Public Health Agency of Canada
The weight of scientific evidence supports a socioeconomic explanation of health inequalities. The roots of ill health can
be found in such determinants as income, education and employment as well as in the material environment and lifestyle.
Also of significance is that poverty in Canada falls
disproportionately on children.
Three Big Facts:
Differences in income distribution deeply affects health
status of a countrys citizens
The steeper the SES or income gradient, the stepper the
differences in health status between rich and poor
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