In a new article, published today in the journal EClinicalMedicine, scientists from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and partner institutions address the current status of inequalities in health, review the fundamental driving factors of these inequalities, introduce the concept of biological capital, and highlight the need for action on the social determinants of health in a life-course perspective.
The Commentary highlights the importance of the welfare state and of addressing early-life factors to magnify the benefits of preventive measures in adult life and to mitigate social inequalities in health at all ages. It is critical to continue generating the knowledge needed to measure social inequalities in cancer, and to continue monitoring progress. It is important to further understand and characterize the impact of the accumulation of biological fingerprints of exposures on the individual’s biological capital.
The authors emphasize that preventive measures should simultaneously target both traditional risk factors – such as smoking, alcohol consumption, an unhealthy diet, overweight and obesity, and physical inactivity – and factors that lead to social deprivation, beginning in childhood.
Vaccarella S, Weiderpass E, Vineis P
Present and future of health inequalities: Rationale for investing in the biological capital
EClinMed, Published on 4 February 2020;
Read the article