Influences upon Health

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Moving outwards, the next layer of Dahlgren and Whitehead’s model details the importance of community and broader social influences as determinants of health. So, chapter 9 discusses community characteristics and the importance of14 : 24 .11 ■Part III Influences upon HealthThis third and final part of the book considers the wide range of influences upon health by drawing upon Dahlgren and Whitehead’s (1991) determinants of the health rainbow model in order to give structure and order to understanding different categories of determinants. By understanding this complexity of influences on health at different levels, readers will be able to conceptualize how to address public-health issues outlined in the case studies within the final chapter, 13. Dahlgren and Whitehead’s model (below) highlights several of the main factors determining population health. The central feature of the model is several fixed determinants of health such as age, sex and genetics. These are all considered in chapter 8, which critically examines individual characteristics as determinants of health. The purpose of this chapter is to explore critically individual characteristics in relation to health. As chapter 6 already focuses upon individual behaviour, this chapter explores other aspects in relation to individual characteristics, including developmental factors such as foetal experiences and age, constitutional factors such as genetic inheritance, and social constructs such as gender (how concepts of femininity and masculinity influence health).
Figure iii.1 The Dahlgren and Whitehead determinants of health rainbow Source: Dahlgren and Whitehead (1991)

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