How will the Financial Crisis Affect Health? Institute of Health Equity

Article by Michael Marmot and Ruth Bell, published in the British Medical Journal on the 1st April 2009

Global recession is likely to damage our health as well as our wealth, but it also offers an opportunity to build a more equitable economic model as Michael Marmot and Ruth Bell explain in light of the G20 summit.

The financial crisis intrudes daily from the newspapers. The breakfast table is littered with quantitative easing and credit-default swaps, stimulus packages, and bank bailouts. But is there a link between the financial crisis dominating the front page and the health stories on the inside? The Commission on Social Determinants of Health certainly believed so. Its starting point was that the economic and social features of society are closely linked to the distribution of health within and between countries.1 The social determinants of health are the circumstances of daily life—the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age—and the structural drivers of those conditions (unfair distribution of power, money, and resources). Both the conditions of daily life and the structural drivers will be influenced by the financial crisis.

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