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Annu Rev Public Health. 2004;25:397-418.

Housing and public health.

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Department of Social Medicine, University of Bristol, Canynge Hall, Whiteladies Road, Bristol BS8 2PR, United Kingdom.


This review considers the broad area of housing and public health, one of the traditional and core areas of public health research and intervention. The review takes into account the range of factors, acting at different levels, directly and indirectly, through which housing affects health. In public health terms, housing affects health in a myriad of relatively minor ways, in total forming one of the key social determinants of health. The paper closes by considering how the improvement of housing and neighborhoods has been a core activity of public health and a central component in tackling poverty. Investment in housing can be more than an investment in bricks and mortar: It can also form a foundation for the future health and well-being of the population. Addressing poor-quality housing and detrimental neighborhoods, in the broadest sense, is thus a task that should be grasped with vigor and determination by all those involved in public health.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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