Minority Health Archive

Health disparities and health equity: concepts and measurement.

Braveman, Paula (2006) Health disparities and health equity: concepts and measurement. Annual review of public health, 27. pp. 167-194. ISSN 0163-7525

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There is little consensus about the meaning of the terms "health disparities," "health inequalities," or "health equity." The definitions can have important practical consequences, determining the measurements that are monitored by governments and international agencies and the activities that will be supported by resources earmarked to address health disparities/inequalities or health equity. This paper aims to clarify the concepts of health disparities/inequalities (used interchangeably here) and health equity, focusing on the implications of different definitions for measurement and hence for accountability. Health disparities/inequalities do not refer to all differences in health. A health disparity/inequality is a particular type of difference in health (or in the most important influences on health that could potentially be shaped by policies); it is a difference in which disadvantaged social groups-such as the poor, racial/ethnic minorities, women, or other groups who have persistently experienced social disadvantage or discrimination-systematically experience worse health or greater health risks than more advantaged social groups. ("Social advantage" refers to one's relative position in a social hierarchy determined by wealth, power, and/or prestige.) Health disparities/inequalities include differences between the most advantaged group in a given category-e.g., the wealthiest, the most powerful racial/ethnic group-and all others, not only between the best- and worst-off groups. Pursuing health equity means pursuing the elimination of such health disparities/inequalities.

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Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is available at the publisher’s Web site. Access to the full text is subject to the publisher’s access restrictions.
Uncontrolled Keywords: health disparities, health inequalities, health equity
Subjects: Health > Health Equity
Health > Disparities
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Depositing User: Users 141 not found.
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2011 10:48
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2011 10:48
Link to this item (URI): http://health-equity.lib.umd.edu/id/eprint/2798

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