Punching above their weight: A network to understand broader determinants of increasing life expectancy

Fran Baum, Jennie Popay, Toni Delany-Crowe, Toby Freeman, Connie Musolino, Carlos Álvarez-Dardet, Vinya Ariyaratne, Kedar Baral, Paulin Basinga, Mary Bassett, David M. Bishai, Mickey Chopra, Sharon Friel, Elsa Regina Giugliani, Hideki Hashimoto, James Macinko, Martin McKee, Huong Thanh Nguyen, Nikki Schaay, Orielle SolarSundararaman Thiagarajan, David Sanders

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)
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    Background: Life expectancy initially improves rapidly with economic development but then tails off. Yet, at any level of economic development, some countries do better, and some worse, than expected - they either punch above or below their weight. Why this is the case has been previously researched but no full explanation of the complexity of this phenomenon is available.

    New research network: In order to advance understanding, the newly formed Punching Above Their Weight Research Network has developed a model to frame future research. It provides for consideration of the following influences within a country: political and institutional context and history; economic and social policies; scope for democratic participation; extent of health promoting policies affecting socio-economic inequities; gender roles and power dynamics; the extent of civil society activity and disease burdens.

    Conclusion: Further research using this framework has considerable potential to advance effective policies to advance health and equity.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number117
    JournalInternational Journal For Equity in Health
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 13 Aug 2018

    Bibliographical note

    'This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.'


    • Life expectancy
    • Health equity
    • Social determinants of health
    • Politics of health
    • Gender equity
    • Civil society
    • Health improvement


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