Despite the fact that health status indicators continue to improve throughout the world, there are still sharp differences in health between countries, regions, cities, and social groups within countries and cities. Unfortunately, disparities in health continue to deepen, mostly because of the global economic crisis. Rising unemployment and the reduction of public spending can affect the lives of millions of people and have the greatest impact on the health of vulnerable populations. This essay aims to discuss the socio-economic inequality as a contributing factor to poor health.
Socio-economic conditions (social determinants) have a significant impact on people's health throughout life. Socio-economic factors that influence health include economic, social and physical environment, as well as individual characteristics (World Health Organization, n.d.). In people with low income, the likelihood of serious illnesses and premature death is higher than in people with high earnings. Moreover, the social differences in health status, which can also be called a social gradient in health, are observed at all levels of the social ladder, but not limited to low-income categories.
Socio-economic distinctions are the considerable factors of the inequities in health. The income level defines the dissimilarities in living standards - quality and quantity of goods and services. In its turn, this is linked to the caloric content, balance and variety of power, hygienic properties and safety of used shoes and clothing, comfort and convenience of microhabitats. The differences in the living environment shape disparate adaptability, and the possibility to cope with physical and emotional stress. The imparity in living standards induces the inequality of the opportunity to use beneficial methods and measures in the fight against the emerging deviations from health.
In addition, individual behavior that includes smoking, alcohol abuse, poor or improper diets, and the lack of physical activity, significantly influences health status. The differences in health, due to the way of life, are unfair when lifestyle choices are limited by the socio economic factors that do not depend directly on the person. The dependence of mortality on the level of income dimensions and the probability of a short life are formed as a result of the long-term accumulation of the negative impact of material deprivation and the related emotional reactions.
The differences in earnings reflect both differences in the level of education and professional affiliation. Educational status is considered an indicator of the increased human ability to perceive and process information, make decisions, as well as allow reasonable, competent and careful approach to the preservation and maintenance of man’s health. Researchers found that social factors, including education, racial segregation, social supports, and poverty accounted for over a third of total deaths in the United States in a year. The relationship between income and profession is obvious. Unskilled workers are twice as likely to die from cancer as professionals. Low income is often associated with the unskilled physical labor, which is characterized by the same increased risk of injury. The other social determinants of health are age and gender. Women and men at different ages face various kinds of diseases.
It is obvious that the literacy of the entire population, especially of the most vulnerable (disadvantaged) groups, will contribute to the greater stability of local communities to the negative social and economic effects of the crisis period, as well as to reducing the inequalities in health. On the other hand, a higher level of health literacy enhances patient adherence to treatment, which allows achieving the best results in health improvement without increasing the financial costs. Thus, the advancements in health literacy and medication adherence reduce the inequality in health.
In conclusion, an individual health condition is caused by person’s belonging to a certain socio-structural group. Economic position is a projection of the benefit inequality, which is directly connected with the inequalities in health. The main socio-economic factors that influence health status are profession, income, educational achievements, gender, and age.
This article was prepared by Tony Logan who is an essay meister writer. He likes to depict his thoughts on paper.