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Wider Social Determinants Of Health And Health Inequalities

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Describe about the wider social determinants of health and health inequalities?


Knowledge about health from a social detriment of health prospective

Social detriments of health are the economic and social conditions that influence the health conditions of the individual. The social detriment of health prospective focuses on the basic two social issues that affect the health conditions of the individual namely the shelter conditions and the workplace conditions. It is seen that inadequate housing is the major resultant for numerous diseases including respiratory disease, asthma, impacts on mental health and poor ventilation. With the increment in the population, level in the developed countries the scarcity for housing facilities are also increasing. Thus, majority of the population are not getting adequate and appropriate housing and are thus suffering from chronic stress, which produces negative health outcomes. Apart from rising population other factors like low income rate, lack of adequate space for house constructions are also the cause behind house deprivation for the majority of the population. The population below the poverty line is deduced with health issues at an early stage since majority of this population lives in inadequate places or on the roads (Mikkonen and Raphael, 2010).

Apart from the residual issues, the social detriment of health also focuses on the environmental factor that affects the health conditions of the individuals. Mental health is highly influenced by the appropriate environmental surroundings and infrastructures. It may be suggested that rapid urbanization has helped the cities develop in terms of infrastructures however; it has also led to situations of overcrowding, rise of pollution levels, lack of shelters, high risk of violence and reduction of environmental resources (Braveman et al. 2011).

Causes of diseases

Prior to the study, I thought that injuries, infections, germs and unhealthy lifestyle caused diseases. As per the scientific views, apart from the injuries and germs the deficiencies in the nutritious value of an individual also causes various chronic diseases. The other commonly accepted prospective is emotional injury (Solar and Irwin, 2007). An individual suffering from long emotional stress is likely to develop a negative mental situation and is prone to attract chronic diseases like heart disease, blood pressure and gastric problems. Hence keeping in mind the above as the sole causes of diseases earlier I focused on maintaining a nutritious diet, reduce my level of stress and keep myself in a cheerful mood, take precautions in form of medicines for germs, infections and injuries.

However, the study on the social Detriments of health changed my focus and I understood that apart from these the major social causes determining the quality of health are namely Shelter, income levels, government policies and environmental infrastructures. Thus apart from taking medicines it is required to also focus on having standard living and working conditions in order to successfully increase the quality of health (Dunn and Dyck, 2000).


Evaluation of health from different prospective

In my early childhood days, I have heard from my parents that quality of health can be improved by making oneself resistant to health problems. Health is always related with the medicines and the preventive clauses that an individual should undertake. However, there is no mention of social problems like inadequacy of shelter, food insecurity, unemployment and high rates of poverty.  These factors primarily affect the health and gives rise to the infections and diseases that require medicinal treatments. Media on the contrary has highlighted the scientific progress of medicines as a part of health and life quality. Although the media represents the progress graph of the medicines and science, however the reality and the social factors affecting the health quality are ignored in the media highlights (Toivanen, 2012).

Discussion on four health frameworks

The four major frameworks of health are namely Biomedical, health behaviors, socio- environmental and political economy framework. The biomedical framework of health focuses solely on the biological factors and avoids any influence of psychological, environmental and social factors. Majority of the health care professionals abide by the norms of the biomedical framework. Thus in adoption of this framework the biasness remains towards the biological background of the individual without any focus on the social factor that may also influence the quality of health of the individual (Raphael, 2010).

The health behavior framework operates based on the health belief model. As per this model an individual’s health, related behavior depends on four major factors namely the brutality of the probable illness, the individual’s vulnerability to that illness, the benefits of taking a preventive action and the barriers in taking the action. However, this model is criticized for being highly rational since an individual affected with illness is not able think rationally (Dulin et al. 2006).

Socio-environmental framework are based on the assessment of the quality of health of an individual based on the social determinants like income, shelter, workplace conditions, environmental infrastructure, governmental policies and food insecurities. This framework states that the mental condition and physical well being is the major reason for the development of chronic diseases.

Political economy Framework stresses on the allocation of resources and income in order to maintain high quality of health within the country. The factors like class and living standards, ethnicity, nutrition and levels of education influence the quality of health of an individual. For instance, in the rural areas the lack of education leads to early marriage resulting in poor health conditions of women during pregnancy.  Moreover, these factors are also the causes of high population and overcrowding in the semi urban and rural areas leading to the rise of social factors that hinders the quality of health (Bambra et al. 2009).

Personal view on health

My previous prospective on health depended on the biomedical framework of health and illness. Since my prospective concerned that the major causes of diseases are the biomedical history of the patient hence I was not focused on the social and political issues concerning the quality of health. However, the study has changed my view and currently my prospective of health quality are based on the social-environmental framework and the political Economy framework of health quality. Thus, I may conclude that all aspects equally effects the quality of health and well being of an individual.


Reference list

Bambra, C., Gibson, M., Amanda, S., Wright, K., Whitehead, M., and Petticrew, M. (2009). Tackling the wider social determinants of health and health inequalities: evidence from systematic reviews. Journal of Epidemiology and Community health, jech-2008.

Braveman, P., Egerter, S., and Williams, D. R. (2011). The social determinants of health: coming of age. Annual review of public health, 32, 381-398.

Dulin, M. K., K. E. Olive, et al. (2006). "The financial value of services provided by a rural community health fair." J Health Care Poor Underserved 17(4): 821-829.

Dunn, J. R., and Dyck, I. (2000). Social determinants of health in Canada’s immigrant population: results from the National Population Health Survey.Social science & medicine, 51(11), 1573-1593.

Mikkonen, J., and Raphael, D. (2010). Social determinants of health: The Canadian facts. York University, School of Health Policy and Management.

Raphael, D. (2010). Health and illness. Black Point, NS: Fernwood Publishing. To be referred herein to as HI.)

Solar, O., and Irwin, A. (2007). A conceptual framework for action on the social determinants of health.

Toivanen, S. (2012). Social determinants of stroke as related to stress at work among working women: a literature review. Stroke research and treatment,2012.


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