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Health Determinants

Determinants of health may be at the individual level (e.g. personal health practices and coping skills, biology and genetic endowment) and at population level (e.g. education, employment and working conditions, income and social status). An integrated population health/risk assessment/risk management approach means focusing primarily on those determinants that are at the population level. In other words, while both individual level and population level determinants may be considered throughout the risk assessment/risk management process, risk assessment research and risk management efforts would focus on addressing factors at the population level. Determinants of health can be taken into account throughout the risk assessment/risk management process: when putting risks into context; in identifying specific groups that are at relatively greater risk than others; in assessing risk levels for these groups; in identifying optimal risk assessment/risk management for specific groups; and in evaluating the effectiveness of risk assessment/risk management strategies, taking into account various characteristics of specific groups. Although the effectiveness of the risk assessment/risk management process can be greatly enhanced by considering the impacts of various determinants of health, it is not always necessary to do so. For example, in cases where the risk issues affects an entire population equally (e.g. low levels of environmental radiation), it is not productive to consider the characteristics of specific groups.

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