Social inequalities of health in Sweden and Brazil – aspects of time and space


PI: Johan Fritzell,

Unequal distribution of resources such as power, education, and income contribute to social inequalities in health between countries and between groups of people within countries. There are social gradients in health in all societies, including advanced welfare states such as Sweden: people of lower socioeconomic position have higher relative risks for disease and premature death than those who are better off.

The social determinants of health—the conditions under which people are born, live, work, and grow old—vary across time and space and act on multiple levels in societies. They range from upstream determinants such as social institutions and policies to more proximal factors such as neighborhood or family circumstances. Such determinants shape the distribution of individual risk factors, and contribute to ill health in a systematic way.

This institutional and interdisciplinary project focuses on health inequalities and social determinants of health in two specific research areas: a) income, poverty, social policy, and health and b) working conditions and health. In each area, we intend to develop collaboration between researchers in Sweden and Brazil and to include both junior and senior researchers to foster training in research activities. We also intend to initiate educational activities in each area. As part of this long-standing collaboration, we have organized four scientific “Health and Society” conferences in Rio de Janeiro in 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2014 so far.

The project is funded by the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education (STINT) and Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES), Brazil. Organizational partners are Stockholm University, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, and Universidade Federal da Bahia.