Chloe Bird and Patricia Rieker argue that to improve men's and women's health, individuals, researchers, and policymakers must understand the social and biological sources of the perplexing gender differences in illness and longevity. Although individuals are increasingly aware of what they should do to improve health, competing demands for time, money, and attention discourage or prevent healthy behavior. Drawing on research and cross-national examples of family, work, community, and government policies, the authors develop a model of constrained choice that addresses how decisions and actions at each of these levels shape men's and women's health-related opportunities. Understanding the cumulative impact of their choices can inform individuals at each of these levels how to better integrate health implications into their everyday decisions and actions. Their platform for prevention calls for a radical reorientation of health science and policy to help individuals pursue health and to lower the barriers that may discourage that pursuit.
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(228mm x 152mm x 16mm)
Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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Author Biography - Chloe E. Bird
Chloe E. Bird, PhD, is a Senior Sociologist at RAND, Professor of Sociology at the Frederick S. Pardee RAND Graduate School, Associate Editor of Women's Health Issues and the immediate past Chair of the Medical Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association. Her research focuses on assessing the determinants of gender and racial/ethnic differences in the physical and mental health of individuals and in the health care they receive. Dr Bird has led numerous NIH-funded studies on gender and racial/ethnic differences in health and health care and on neighborhood effects on health. In current work, she is exploring how characteristics of a neighborhood's social and built environment contribute to the health of men and women and to racial/ethnic disparities in health. This interdisciplinary work is intended to help target interventions to reduce health disparities. Dr Bird has published in a wide range of journals and has co-authored numerous book chapters and reports, including two recent reports for the Office of Women's Health. In 1995, Dr Bird received the Elliot Freidson Outstanding Publication Award from the Medical Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association. Her work has repeatedly been recognized among the most outstanding abstracts at the Academy Health Annual Research Meeting; in 2006, she was awarded a month-long collaborative residency by the Rockefeller Foundation to work at their Bellagio Center in Italy. Patricia P. Rieker is Adjunct Professor of Sociology at Boston University, Associate Professor of Psychiatry (Sociology) at Harvard Medical School, and Emeritus Professor at Simmons College, Boston. She was formerly the Director of Psychosocial Research at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, where her research focused on health care outcomes for men with genitourinary cancers. Dr Rieker is also an evaluation research consultant to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and has worked with the Research Triangle Institute, the National Office of the American Cancer Society and National Women's Resource Center, and SAMHSA. Among her numerous publications are several co-edited books: The Gender Gap in Psychotherapy: Social Realities and Psychological Processes and Mental Health: Racism and Sexism (which was named an Outstanding Book by the Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights in North America). Her current research interests include cross-national comparisons of gender and health, the determinants of health care outcomes, and evaluation research capacity building.