Health policy approaches to population health: The limits of medicalization

School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States
Health Affairs (Impact Factor: 4.64). 09/2007; 26(5):1253-7. DOI: 10.1377/hlthaff.26.5.1253
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Because of a strong tendency to "medicalize" health status problems and to assume that their primary solution involves medical care, policymakers often focus on increased financial and geographic access to personal health services in policies aimed at populations that are vulnerable to poor health. This approach has produced real public health gains, but it has neglected key social and economic causes of health vulnerability and disparities. Although access to care is a necessary component of population health, concerted policy action in income security, education, housing, nutrition/food security, and the environment is also critical in efforts to improve health among socially disadvantaged populations.

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