Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Recently, a new research agenda emphasizing interactions between social factors and health has emerged. The term social determinant of health often refers to any nonmedical factor directly influencing health. Health across the life span is strongly and adversely affected by social disadvantage. Research in epigenetics indicates that alterations in DNA methylation may provide a causal link between social adversity and health disparity. Likewise, accelerated loss of telomeres is correlated with chronic stress. Research is still required to develop an understanding of the role of epigenetics and perturbed telomere function in linking social adversity with health outcome.