• The Household Production of Health and Women's Work: New Directions in Medical Anthropology and Households Research

      Olson, K. Brooke (University of Arizona, Department of Anthropology, 1994)
      Recent discussions on the household production of health focus on how health and illness are produced in the household. New economic models of the household view it as a site where both production and consumption take place; neo-Marxist refinements have demonstrated that the household may also be characterized by conflicting interests, which often involve gender and age inequalities. This type of micro-level analysis is important in improving the understanding of health behaviors, which may then be used to increase the effectiveness of international health programs, many of which have been thus far criticized for their ineffectiveness. An analysis of women's roles towards this end is paramount as women are typically health managers in the domestic economy, a situation that is often noted, but on which research is scant. Recent studies have examined the impact of women's work, both inside and outside the home, on the production of household health. It is also essential to assess how resources (e.g., money, time, food, knowledge, health treatments, power) are distributed in the household and how this distribution may differentially affect the health of household members, especially women and children. Important topics which warrant further exploration in the household production of health literature include the impact of the domestic life-cycle, examination of the household production of health in female-headed households, and greater understanding of the role of men in household health, especially how it may inform international health policies.