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August 2019

Soc Sci Med. 1993 Jan; 36(2): 125-35.

Health transition: the cultural, social and behavioural determinants of health in the Third World.

Caldwell JC.

Health Transition Centre, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT.

The paper defines 'health transition' and outlines the development of recent research programmes. Evidence is reviewed as to the cultural, social and behavioural determinants of health in the Third World, and the extent to which they interact with the provision of health services in reducing mortality. Specific attention is given to the impact on mortality of education, and the historic experience of the now developed countries is compared with contemporary developing countries. Consideration is also given to the role of cultural factors and to radicalism, egalitarianism and the role of women in traditional society as well as fertility control and various forms of deleterious behaviour in contemporary society. The extent to which all these changes are facets of a single social transformation is discussed. Finally, the future of health transition research and its value for planned health interventions are summarized.


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