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Annals of Human Biology

For an Article Collection on

Health Inequalities Over the Life Course: A Biosocial Approach

Manuscript deadline
15 December 2023

Cover image - Annals of Human Biology

Article collection guest advisor(s)

Rebecca Hardy, Loughborough University
[email protected]

Elizabeth Roberts, Department of Anthropology, University of Michigan
[email protected]

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Health Inequalities Over the Life Course: A Biosocial Approach

There is an extensive literature highlighting the links between socioeconomic inequality and a wide range of health outcomes. However, limited research uses truly integrated biosocial methods to understand the relationship between these dynamics.  Biosocial research is concerned with understanding the dynamic interrelationships between biology and experiences over the life course. Methods for biosocial research include, but are not limited to combining ethnography and epidemiology, niche theory, ecosocial theory, and life course theory.

Reducing inequalities in health fosters fairness and social justice - those in more disadvantaged social groups live shorter and less healthy lives. Thus, understanding how to reduce health inequality between and within countries is of paramount importance. A life course, or lifespan, approach which considers the relative importance of experiences at different life stages enables the identification of key (or sensitive) periods where intervention may prove most effective.

This collection of papers will investigate the emergence of health inequalities across the life course and aims to publish studies using data from different populations around the globe. The editors seek submissions that situate health and inequality as intertwined dynamic processes, without slotting these processes into fixed biological or social categories.  Research can consider any health outcome or health-related measure. Research will take an interdisciplinary biosocial perspective and use rigorous methodology in the analysis of data. Research using novel analytical approaches are encouraged.

Topics include:

  • Biological embedding – how the social “gets under the skin”;
  • A life course epidemiological approach to the development of health inequalities, including research on the developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD);
  • The role of local environments (e.g. neighbourhood deprivation, pollution) in health inequalities;
  • Evaluation of the impact of policy on health inequalities.

Annals of Human Biology accepts the following types of articles:

  • Research Papers
  • Review Articles
  • Short Reports
  • Human Biological Surveys
  • Commentaries

Dr. Rebecca Hardy is Professor of Epidemiology and Medical Statistics in the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at Loughborough University. Prior to taking up the position at Loughborough in 2022, she was Professor at University College London (UCL) where she retains an Honorary position.  Rebecca’s research uses a life course epidemiological approach to study health and ageing, and the development of social inequalities in health. She uses data from birth cohort studies and other longitudinal population studies in her research.

Dr. Elizabeth F.S. Roberts is a professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan, who investigates scientific and public health knowledge production and its embodied effects in Latin America and the United States. She currently collaborates with engineers and environmental health scientists in the United States and Mexico as part of two ongoing team-based projects in Mexico City that she directs: “Mexican Exposures: A Bioethnographic Approach to Health and Inequality” and “Neighborhood Environments as Socio-Techno-bio Systems: Water Quality, Public Trust, and Health in Mexico City” (NESTSMX). In these projects, she and her team trace the looping social, economic, biological, and technical processes that shape everyday life, health, and inequality in working class neighborhoods. One of the key aims of Professor Roberts’ current work is the development of bioethnography, a method that combines social and life sciences approaches in order to make better knowledge about health and inequality.

Disclosure Statement: Dr. Rebecca Hardy & Dr. Elizabeth F.S. Roberts declare no conflicts of interest regarding this work.

The deadline for submitting manuscripts is December 15th, 2023.

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Submission Instructions

All manuscripts submitted to this Article Collection will undergo a full peer-review; the Guest Advisor for this collection will not be handling the manuscripts (unless they are an Editorial Board member). Please review the journal scope and author submission instructions prior to submitting a manuscript.

The deadline for submitting manuscripts is December 15th, 2023.

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article

All manuscripts submitted to this Article Collection will undergo desk assessment and peer-review as part of our standard editorial process. Guest Advisors for this collection will not be involved in peer-reviewing manuscripts unless they are an existing member of the Editorial Board. Please review the journal Aims and Scope and author submission instructions prior to submitting a manuscript.