Health Inequalities and Social Determinants of Health Essay Sample
This essay sample shall discuss the factors contributing to health inequalities and a discussion on the health inequalities caused due to social determinants of health.
Social determinants of health are the social, environmental, political, and economic factors that affect the health and wellbeing of the people.
Social determinants are those factors that lie outside the healthcare system. It may include determinants like good education, working conditions, employment, family background place of residence, income status, ethnicity, etc.
Health inequalities and the factors contributing to it
Health inequalities are an unfair distribution that creates avoidable health inequities. It differentiates different classes or groups of people and creates a gap in the health status and distribution of health determinants.
Due to differences in the social-economic status of a person and factors, it causes an unequal distribution of social health status.
The difference in socioeconomic status is a very complex issue and can only be resolved through an effective collective effort.
Some of the factors contributing to health inequalities are:-
(1) Inequality in opportunities caused due to poverty, family background, education, job employment, housing, and environment.
(2) Inequality in health behaviors caused due to drug abuse, risky sexual behavior, smoking habits, food habits, and poor quality of food, lack of physical activity.
(3) Inequality in access to health services being provided to the ill people can cause health inequity.
Social determinants of health
We will discuss six main social determinants of health. These are poverty, employment, housing, environment, education, and social isolation determinants affecting health.
Poverty and low-income group
A poor economic status leads to poor education and less awareness about health and the environment. Since there is an unequal distribution of income there is a lack of food & deficiency that creates a negative impact on physical health and wellbeing.
Due to the low quality of food, poor health, and lifestyle people living in poverty suffer from various ailments and diseases. They have a high risk of death, low life expectancy, mortality rate, and poor health in children causing lifetime deficiency.
There is also an increase in the crime rate in low-income groups and poverty-stricken neighborhoods where education is also of no use. It has a negative influence on the health, behavior, and wellbeing of a person.
Children growing up in such an environment do not get enough education to get a good job to sustain themselves and their families. Hence, the poverty cycle continues affecting overall health.
Employment or working condition has a direct impact on the social, physical, and emotional well being of employees and families. A secured job not only makes the economic condition of a person better but also improves his mental health.
Unemployment increases poverty along with the problem of social isolation in people. Sitting idle with no job not only deteriorates the physical health of a person but also affects his emotional health and self-esteem.
Lack of employment reduces the independence, confidence, and health of a person restricting his growth and personal development as well.
Poor quality of housing can cause serious problems with mental health issues and infection issues. A house which is very cold, damped, cracked walls with seepage problem, overcrowded and unpleasant environment can never be suitable for living by the families.
As it can cause many underlying conditions of health impacting cardiovascular, respiratory, and rheumatoid diseases.
Uncontrolled temperatures and non ventilated rooms can cause major health issues affecting air passages, respiratory tracts, and lungs.
There must be adequate space available inside and outside the house to move around. Otherwise, it will restrict the mobility and independence of a person severely affecting the health of children and the elderly.
Social isolation and loneliness is another factor that has become challenging over the years in the healthcare system. As people are moving out of their cities staying away from friends and family due to jobs is causing a negative impact on mental health.
Older adults, children with disabilities, single parents, women who experience domestic violence, unemployed youth, a disabled person are some of the vulnerable groups whose health gets affected due to social isolation.
Poor education causes a lack of awareness and knowledge about health amongst the people. Poor health condition means poor life expectancy which creates stress and a bad influence on the mental and emotional well being of a person.
Lack of education makes young adults and children get easily involved in risky and dangerous behavior. Like smoking and drinking habits, poor diet, unsafe sex, unhealthy behavior, drug abuse causes health inequalities.
People working and living in a particular environmental condition must be safe. Poor quality of air, extreme weather conditions, seasonal change of climate, no greenery, and sudden temperature changes can affect the mood, mind, and physical well being of people.
No outdoor spaces with greenery and fresh air majorly affect the elderly, disabled, sick, and low-income groups especially. This puts further pressure on the health care system services.
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The above sample mentions the social determinants of health and health inequalities.
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