The application of the life course approach to social epidemiology has helped epidemiologists theoretically examine social gradients in population health. Longitudinal data with rich contextual information collected repeatedly and advanced statistical approaches have made this challenging task easier. This review paper provides an overview of the life course approach in epidemiology, its research application, and future challenges. In summary, a systematic approach to methods, including theoretically guided measurement of socioeconomic position, would assist researchers in gathering evidence for reducing social gradients in health, and collaboration across individual disciplines will make this task achievable.
2014 Noriko Cable. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.