The determinants of health from a historical perspective

J. W. Frank, J. F. Mustard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The conceptions of the determinants of health change periodically. At certain times socioeconomic factors have figured predominantly in policy-making; at other times the emphasis has been largely on identifying the causes of disease and treating the sick. Theories about the determinants of health affect how illness is defined, what public policies are initiated, and how resources are allocated. The author believes it is time to integrate understanding of the determinants of health and the determinants of economic growth. Governments and their societies are mistaken to concentrate on the economics of business cycles rather than the long-term forces affecting economic growth, prosperity, and health and well-being. A society that handicaps large segments of its population during periods of major technological change may be handicapping its future economic growth. We now have a better understanding of the relationships among economic growth, prosperity, and health and well-being, and the need for a long-term, integrated perspective of health and economic growth. The author asks: can we make intelligent and wise use of this understanding? -from Author

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1994


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