In Australia's Health (2008), the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) describes the determinants of individual and population health as broad features of society, socioeconomic characteristics, health behaviours and biomedical factors, which interact with each other and with individual physical and psychological makeup.53 These include the different roles that women and men play in the community and sex-specific biological predispositions. The AIHW has produced the following framework for understanding the determinants of health. conceptual framework for the determinants of health54


The figure illustrates how the broad features of society, including culture, economic and power systems, social policies, politics, affluence and social cohesion, impact upon socioeconomic circumstances and social and physical environments. These then influence people's health behaviours, their psychological states and factors relating to safety. All of these contributors may then influence biomedical factors, producing further health effects. The elements within the boxes interact with each other and with individual physical and psychological makeup, such as genetics, ageing, the influence of life course and intergenerational influences. The following discussion highlights the importance of biological sex and gender and other social factors as determinants of women's health.