Print version ISSN 0120-4157
Introduction. The social environment is an important determinant of population and individual health. However, its impact is often not considered in national health policies and generally its attributes are considered as constants. For this reason, contemporary health policies place greater emphasis on individual risk factors. Objective. Colombias position in the world ranking is described with respect to several social macro-determinants of health, previously characterized as components of class/welfare regime model. Materials and methods. The exploratory study included all countries with comparable data including the following: (1) economic development [gross domestic product per capita adjusted for purchasing power parity], (2) income inequality [Gini coefficient], (3) social capital corruption perceptions index and generalized trust, and (4) political regime index of freedom. First, correlations between these macro-determinants were estimated, and second, the relationship between them and life expectancy at birth was explored. Finally, the position of Colombia in global context was determined. Results. Important correlations occurred among the macro-determinants. Colombia tended to have intermediate to low positions in the global context in all macro-determinants, with the exception of gross domestic product per capita adjusted for purchasing power parity. Conclusion. The macro-determinant of population health with the highest potential of effecting improvement in health conditions is to modify income inequality.
Keywords : social conditions; world health; health policy; social inequity; life expectancy; Colombia.