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date: 18 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Even when people understand what is best for their health and want to do those things, barriers can get in the way. This chapter examines the social and economic context of health-relevant behaviors paying special attention to elements that make it more difficult to carry out desired health behaviors. Often, things such as poverty, race or ethnicity, gender, age, or sexual orientation can influence the interactions a person has with the health-care system and thereby the person’s health and well-being. There is progress to be made in minimizing health disparities associated with each of these variables, but social networks and environmental characteristics can also be harnessed and used to the benefit of health promotion. Managing social networks and environments to maximize good health behaviors is the focus of the latter portion of this chapter.

Keywords: poverty, socioeconomic status (SES), race, ethnicity, heterosexism, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT), rewards, social support, health behavior, self-fulfilling prophecy

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