Sick individuals, sick populations: The societal determinants of chronic diseases

David Stuckler, Karen Siegel, Roberto De Vogli, Sanjay Basu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


This chapter examines why chronic diseases have risen so markedly over the past several decades. It begins by assessing the contribution of individual risk factors to the disease burden. It then evaluates the social and environmental context of these risks using a theoretical framework that spans individual and population levels. It provides a series of case studies to illustrate the importance of major societal changes to population risks of chronic diseases, including political choices in Eastern Europe's transition from communism, the sudden wealth of the Western Pacific islands, and the periods ofprolonged economic hardship experienced in Finland, Japan's 'double-dip' recession, and Cuba's 'Special Period'. The chapter concludes by revisiting the leading population theories of health, health transition, risk factors, and population ageing, in the context of the societal determinants of health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSick Societies: Responding to the global challenge of chronic disease
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191731204
ISBN (Print)9780199574407
StatePublished - Jan 19 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Chronic disease
  • Health
  • Health transition
  • Population ageing
  • Public health
  • Risk factors
  • Societal change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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