The second edition of Mildred Blaxter's successful and highly respected book offers a comprehensive and engaging introduction to the key debates surrounding the concept of health today. It discusses how health is defined, constructed, experienced and acted out in contemporary developed societies, drawing on a range of empirical data from the USA, Britain, France, and many other countries. The new edition has been thoroughly revised and updated, with new material added on health and identity, the "new genetics", the sociology of the body, and the formation of health capital throughout the life course. The topic is the concept of health, rather than the more usual emphasis on illness and health-care systems. Special emphasis is given to the lay perspective to show how people themselves think about and experience health. Blaxter guides students through all the relevant conceptual models of the relationship of health to the structure of society, from inequality in health to the ideas of the risk society, the 'socio-biological translation' and the contribution of health to social capital. The book concludes with a comprehensively revised and thought-provoking discussion of the impact of new technology, the boundaries between life and death, modern commodification of health, technological transformations of the body and theories of evolutionary biology. Health is an invaluable textbook for students of medicine and other health professions as well as those studying sociology, health sciences and health promotion.