7 Pages

List of tables and ®gure: Report one

Social inequalities are established features of the distribution of physical disease in the UK and many other developed countries.1;2 In most physical diseases, a clear trend of poorer health is evident with each step down the hierarchy of social position, de®ned either by lower social status or by poorer material circumstances. This stepwise trend across social classes was present throughout the 20th century and only a handful of clinical conditions show a distribution that does not follow this pattern.