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Housing standards: a glossary of housing and health.

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Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 58(3), 162-168

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In this article, Howden-Chapman provides a comprehensive glossary of terms related to housing standards and their impact on health.

The paper serves as a vital resource for researchers, policymakers, and practitioners in the fields of public health, epidemiology, and housing policy. It bridges the gap between the disciplines of health and housing by offering clear definitions and explanations of key concepts and terminologies that are often used interchangeably or misunderstood in these sectors. The glossary covers a wide range of terms related to the structural aspects of housing, such as ventilation, insulation, and dampness, and extends to broader concepts like housing affordability, tenure, and homelessness. Each term is not only defined but also contextualised within the framework of its impact on health outcomes. Concepts include physical structure of housing, indoor environment, lead poisoning, damp and mould, cold and seasonal differences, household crowding, noise pollution, multiple housing deprivation, housing condition surveys, housing tenure, sheltered housing, housing discrimination, housing wealth, social housing, and housing as a psychological space. The article emphasises the significant influence of housing quality, design, and affordability on public health, including the physical, mental, and social well-being of individuals and communities. One of the critical contributions of this work is its discussion on the complex interplay between housing conditions and health inequalities. Howden-Chapman highlights how poor housing standards disproportionately affect marginalised and low-income groups, leading to health disparities. The glossary also touches upon policy implications, suggesting that improvements in housing standards can be a powerful tool in addressing public health issues and reducing health inequities. Furthermore, the article provides insight into the historical development of housing standards and their evolving nature in response to changing public health needs and scientific understanding. It underscores the importance of continuous research and policy adaptation to ensure that housing standards effectively contribute to the promotion of holistic health and well-being.

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