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A Life Course Approach to Women's Health

Diana Kuh and Rebecca Hardy


How far is the health of middle-aged and older women shaped by biological, social, and psychological processes that begin in pre-natal development, childhood, adolescence, or early adult life? Do health risks gradually accumulate over the life course or do experiences as a child and young adult have interactive effects on health in midlife and beyond? Are women now reaching middle age in better health than those from previous generations? This book reviews the latest scientific evidence on biological and social factors at each stage of life that have long-term effects on reproductive outcomes, ... More

Keywords: middle-aged women, older women, pre-natal development, childhood, young adult, reproductive outcomes, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, musculoskeletal ageing

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2002 Print ISBN-13: 9780192632890
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780192632890.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Diana Kuh, editor
Senior Research Scientist, Medical Research Council and Reader, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London

Rebecca Hardy, editor
Research Scientist, Medical Research Council and Lecturer, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London

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Part I Introduction

Part II Health, ageing, and disease

Chapter 3 Breast cancer aetiology: where do we go from here?

Isabel dos Santos Silva and Bianca L. De Stavola

Chapter 5 A life course approach to coronary heart disease and stroke

Debbie A. Lawlor, Shah Ebrahim, and George Davey Smith

Chapter 6 A life course approach to diabetes

Helen M. Colhoun and Nish Chaturvedi

Chapter 9 Body image: a life course perspective

Lindsay McLaren and Jane Wardle

Part III Biological, social, and psychosocial pathways

Chapter 11 Social and economic trajectories and women’s health

Mel Bartley, Amanda Sacker, and Ingrid Schoon

Chapter 15 Sexually transmitted infections and health through the life course

Ronald H. Gray, Maria J. Wawer, and David Serwadda

Part IV Explaining health and disease patterns

Part V Conclusions

End Matter