To start with, the concept of health will be firstly discussed, then how different factors determine “health” will be explained, and anally some principles and solutions will be suggested. How to define the term “health” is the first and foremost step in tackling the issue of health inequality. Nevertheless, it is complicated to define it 1, as people’s judgments on health and illness vary due to the combination of determinants of healthy. Definitions have been evolving over time.
Health is defined by official or individual. Official explanation is originated from the biomedical model which based on scientific knowledge. On the other hand, lay definition of health, defined by a person without professional qualifications, comprised the simplified version of medical knowledge and individual experiences like cultural context and personal health knowledge 5, influences how people view health and the way they seek help if feeling unwell 7.
The modern society distinguishes health between positive and negative. Early explanation of “health “means the most perfect state of animal life and the absence of disease, influenced by biomedical modems. Yet, limitation exists as research and analysis have suggested one can feel mentally or psychologically uneasy when physically healthy whereas another one can feel comfortable when suffering from chronic illnesses. Such description is also so negative that one is health when not suffering from diseases.
Therefore, a more positive definition is suggested by World Health Organization (WHO). Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. —-WHO (1946)12 Health is a resource for everyday life, not the object of living, and is a positive concept emphasizing social and personal resources as well as physical capabilities. Health is a fundamental human right (1948)13 It is also important to differentiate disease from illness in this topic.
Disease is the malfunctioning or abnormalities inside body organ that are diagnosed by health professional whereas Illness is the subjective experience by the patients 14 It is observed that the health condition of an individual is deeply influenced by the social and economic environment; the physical environment, and the person’s individual characteristics and behaviors, which are known as the determinants of health. The context of people’s lives determines their health, and so blaming individuals for having poor health or crediting them for good health is inappropriate.
Individuals are unlikely to be able to directly control many of the determinants of health. These determinants, which make people healthy or not, include factors like gender and economic “The determinants of health”15 With no doubt, Gender roles have much influence on our health. Sex, the unchangeable biological and psychological differences; and gender, the designated role or behaviors shaped by societies, account for the morbidity and mortality of men and women.
Yet, it is observed that men have generally higher morbidity and motility than women, caused mainly by having masculinity, which means some risky but “cool” behaviors that a man should do, for instance, alcohol drinking, cigarette smoking, vigorous sports 17, is detrimental to men’s health, for example, lead to cardiovascular disease, lung cancer, and chronic respiratory disease; along with occupational related disease, as men involved more dangerous physical activities than women 19.
Besides, being influenced by the perception of masculinity, men are less likely to report illness or to seek professional support than women, as they are thought to be confident and self – reliant. They alongside strive to work hard and endure high working stress and tension as they are assumed to be the breadwinner who provide economic needs to support their family. Women, on the other hand, generally live longer than men. It can be explained by the stereotypical view which women are viewed as weak and helpers, thus they are not given stressful or physically dangerous jobs like men.
Also, women are found more willingly to report their symptoms and consult a medical expert when ii. Nevertheless, experiencing men’s physical or emotional violence can lead to the female illness or even death. Moreover, the expected gender role for women, like being a “good wife”, can affect female health as they often prioritize the family’s needs so that other family members can have good health. Besides, it is indicated that gender may lead to disadvantage in using health service as there is discrimination in providing service to women in institution.
Even though women are more willing to consult their physical or psychological complaints with a health professional, their referrals proportion is lower than that of men. It is also noticed that men’s disease and also male patients are taken more seriously. Women are also found it difficult to resist or complain about the treatment inside the ward due to their submissive nature, a kind of designated feminine behavioral. There has been a wave of publishing books concerning women’s health since sass, but up till now, there are still few books exclusively informing men about how to regulate their health.
Apart from the gender inequality mentioned above, it is noticed that the widest gaps in healthy inequalities are societies with widest income equality. To explain this phenomenon, Materialists / Structural Explanation emphasizes whether one is healthy of well is related to is materials or social circumstances, for instance, low income and poor housing may be the root cause of the poor health or earlier death; the behavioral / culture explanation points out the health is caused by the individual behavior and lifestyles, for example, working class have no choice but tend to have undesirable health – deteriorating behaviors.
Below will the explanation of how economic position affects individual’s living environment, diet, medical care and lifestyles. In terms of living environment, Lower class usually lives in poor housing like cage mom in HACK, enduring hazardous but low paid jobs, thus influencing health. The bad housing design like insulation or ventilation, linked to reduced housing price, may lead to poor health and one have to bear the high medication and hospital costs afterward’s. In terms of medical care provision, working classes also receive inferior medical career.
Owing to the market economy in healthcare, the areas in most need are worst served; the impoverished group tends to under – utilize health care resources like consultation from professional or GAP attendance and thus have poor survival ratters. Lifestyles should also be taken count in this topic. Lifestyles of different economic classes caused health inequality. Even though most people receive health message concerning diet or exercise, fewer people can demonstrate a wholesome lifestyles due to the influence from beliefs, material or social circumstances.
Disadvantaged group is less likely experience health improvement as they can’t change their original undesirable lifestyles (try to be healthy can damage their material circumstances). Some people are unable to worry their future due to the present hardship in life. Moreover, inferior socioeconomic class tend to ensures high energy content and cheaper foods, in spite of the fact that these foods are usually processed and have less nutritional, affecting long term physical development like heighten.
After all, healthy diets cost more and thus poor class has difficulty in achieving good nutritional statutes. The socioeconomic differences may also lower the self – esteem and intensify their tension, resulting in unhealthy dealing behaviors like excess drinking or smoking. Our work has shown that those with lower INCOMES and lower education have not been giving up unhealthy behaviors as fast as the rest of he population, storing up inequalities in health for the future. — The King’s Fund (2012)42 In the above paragraphs, we have discussed how gender role and economic position shape one’s health condition. It is noticed that men and women, as well as advantaged and disadvantaged group have differences in health status or in the distribution of health determinants. These differences are known as the health inequalities. “Inequalities in health arise because of inequalities in society – in the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age”– Sir Michael Marmot, Chair of the Commission on
Social Determinants of Health, WHO, (2010)44 In this way it is known that the individual health is being determined by a wide range of social factors, ranging from individual life style factors to social & community network and the general socioeconomic, cultural & environmental conditions. It is impossible to deal with the case if only the biomedical model (which emphasizes that individual is responsible for his own health), without the social model (individual health is affected by a wide range of social factors), is used in identifying the cause and suggesting intervention.
Eliminating the root cause of the health inequality like the income equality is definitely important, as it is found that people in societies which have more equal distribution of income are happier and healthier among the developed countries. Therefore it is of paramount importance to tackle the unequal distribution of money and power, which determine our lifestyles, globally; nationally and locally. We can significantly improve the real quality of human life by reducing the differences in incomes between the top and the bottom earners.
Indeed, a form of income redistribution is crucial, urgent ND important, especially where a healthier human resource is needed for a better economy. Functionless. Com This requires a strong public sector that is committed, capable, and adequately financed. To achieve that requires more than strengthened government – it requires strengthened governance: legitimacy, space, and support for civil society, for an accountable private sector, and for people across society to agree public interests and reinvest in the value of collective action.
In a globalizes world, the need for governance dedicated to equity applies equally from the community level to global institutions WHO 46 Besides, a healthy and wholesome lifestyle ought to be advocated and be deeply ingrained inside everyone’s mind; for instance, the authority may introduce a comprehensive health education via the mass media, however, the obstacles in achieving this are large. Efforts to persuade people to follow a healthier lifestyle have worked only for wealthier parts of the population and widen the health inequalities divide; poorer people have been left behind in fight against unhealthy lifestyles. The Kings Fund 47 People’s lifestyles whether they smoke, how much they drink, what they eat, whether they take jugular exercise – affect their health and mortality. It is well known that each of these lifestyle risk factors is unequally distributed in the population. The overall proportion of the English population that engages in three or four unhealthy behaviors has declined significantly, from around 33 per cent of the population in 2003, to 25 per cent in 2008. However, these reductions have been seen mainly among those in higher socio-economic and educational groups.
The health of the overall population will improve as a result of the decline in these behaviors, UT the poorest and those with least education will benefit least, leading to the widening health inequalities. — The Kings Funded Therefore, health professional ought to know why it is hard to change the health- risking behaviors in the poorest group through more research and analysis of data. Increasing state provision of healthcare service is also needed as the accessibility of the healthcare system is one of the determinants of health.
Healthcare should be a common good for all classes, the ideal system should be universal coverage, in which everyone are empowered and have the right to reach to the good quality f services. The policy imposition of user fees for health care in low- and middle- income countries has led to an overall reduction in utilization and worsening health outcomes. Upwards of 100 million people are pushed into poverty each year through catastrophic household health costs.