Skip to main content

Biocultural Approaches to Health Disparities in Global Contexts



Biocultural Approaches to Health Disparities in Global Contexts

Thomas Leatherman (Editor), David Himmelgreen (Editor), Satish Kedia (Editor)

ISBN: 978-1-119-18627-4 July 2015 Wiley-Blackwell 156 Pages


The study of health disparities has emerged as an important theme in public health and the social sciences, and efforts to eliminate health disparities are a major thrust of governments and nongovernmental organizations in the US and abroad. Initially, much work focused on identifying disparities with less emphasis on the contexts that create these disparities. An important shift over the past two decades has been the recognition that health disparities have their roots in social and economic inequalities. Biocultural anthropologists have been addressing issues of health inequities for decades in multiple environments and ethnographic contexts and have increasingly expanded their approaches to more directly focus on the important relationships between inequalities and health in global contexts. These more critical biocultural approaches to health have much to offer studies of health disparities by exploring the contexts of inequality and the embodied processes linking inequalities to biology and health in global-local contexts, demonstrating how large-scale forces and local-level lived realities ‘get under the skin.’ The papers collected here make theoretical, methodological and applied contributions, employing biocultural approaches to address inequalities and health disparities in a range of cultural contexts and, by exploring multiple dimensions of poverty and inequality, of food insecurity, health transitions, and the growing problems of global obesity and diabetes.

171 Introduction: Biocultural Contributions to the Study of Health Disparities
Thomas Leatherman and Kasey Jernigan

187 Biosocial Inheritance: A Framework for the Study of the Intergenerational Transmission of Health Disparities
Morgan K. Hoke and Thomas McDade

214 Culture as a Mediator of Health Disparities: Cultural Consonance, Social Class, and Health
William W. Dressler, Mauro C. Balieiro, Rosane P. Ribeiro, and José Ernesto dos Santos

232 Using a Biocultural Approach to Examine Food Insecurity in the Context of Economic Transformations in Rural Costa Rica
Ernesto Ruiz, David A. Himmelgreen, Nancy Romero Daza, and Jenny Penã

250 Exploring the Role of Culture in the Link Between Mental Health and Food Insecurity: A Case Study from Brazil
Lesley Jo Weaver, David Meek, and Craig Hadley

269 A World of Suffering? Biocultural Approaches to Fat Stigma in the Global Contexts of the Obesity Epidemic
Alexandra A. Brewis and Amber Wutich

284 The Reproduction of Poverty and Poor Health in the Production of Health Disparities in Southern Peru
Thomas Leatherman and Kasey Jernigan

300 Syndemic Suffering in Soweto: Violence and Inequality at the Nexus of Health Transition in South Africa
Emily Mendenhall

317 Biosketches

320 Corrigendum