Elements for a theory of the health transition.

J. Frenk, J. L. Bobadilla, C. Stern, T. Frejka, R. Lozano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Scopus citations


This article presents the basic elements for developing a theory of the health transition. Such elements include the definition of concepts, the specification of a framework on the determinants of health status, the analysis of the mechanisms through which health change occurs in populations, the characterization of the attributes that allow us to identify different transition models, and the enumeration of the possible consequences of the transition. The propositions are presented with a sufficient level of generality as to make them applicable to different contexts; at the same time, an attempt is made to provide them with the necessary specificity to account for different national experiences, thus opening a space for future comparative research efforts. Through the systematization exercise presented in this article, we hope to contribute to the progress of a topic that has grown in importance during recent years. Such importance is due to the enormous potential that health transition theory has for understanding and transforming the growing complexity of our times.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-38
Number of pages18
JournalHealth transition review : the cultural, social, and behavioural determinants of health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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