Health Equity: Perspectives, Measurability, and Criteria


in Challenging Inequities in Health

Published in print July 2001 | ISBN: 9780195137408
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199863983 | DOI:
Health Equity: Perspectives, Measurability, and Criteria

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This chapter continues the measurement discussion with a consideration of some of the greatest challenges inherent in attempts to measure inequities in health. It raises the question of what the informational basis should be for assessing health. Ideas of good health and ill health are themselves open to debate. What kind of information should we use to judge the relative goodness or badness of health? A critical distinction concerns the difference between the “internal” and “external” views of illness and health. Should we go by self-perception of bad health (what the patient herself thinks), or should we concentrate, instead, on professional assessment of illness and indifferent health? This also raises a question about the relevance and usefulness of indirect indicators (such as mortality rates and life expectancy).

Keywords: Amartya Sen; measurement of health equity; subjective; objective

Chapter.  4912 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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