Reviews Book

Health Inequalities: Lifecourse Approaches

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: (Published 04 December 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:1352
  1. Johan P Mackenbach (, professor of public health
  1. Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, Netherlands

    This book is a selection of George Davey Smith's papers on health inequalities published between 1990 and 2002. Not counting the afterword, 39 papers are reproduced, of which a third originally appeared in the BMJ. Davey Smith (or GDS) has made and edited the selection himself, so it provides a good opportunity to catch a glimpse of the man behind this prolific writer and “professional preventive medicine apparatchik” (his words, p 524).

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    Ed George Davey Smith

    The Policy Press, £25/$37.50, pp 548

    ISBN 1861343221

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    The book is loosely constructed around the new theme of “lifecourse approaches”—attempts to understand health inequalities from the cumulation and interaction of factors acting early and later in life. Although GDS was originally sceptical about David Barker's work on the early-life origins of adult disease, he soon recognised the potential of lifecourse approaches for understanding health inequalities. Nine of the papers here directly illustrate the lifecourse approach.

    In a set of important papers based on the west of Scotland collaborative study—a cohort of almost 6000 men recruited …

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