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Inequalities in Health - Essay Example

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In the paper “Health Inequalities” the author analyzes growing social inequalities in health in the UK and other states. . Social and economic circumstances have been associated though not as heavily as these days, with health inequalities for many decades…
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Inequalities in Health
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"Inequalities in Health"

Download file to see previous pages The definitions of ‘health’ fall into three major groups:• Cultural: health is a standard of physical and mental well being appropriate to a particular society.• Normative: health as an fixed level, or an ideal physical and mental state• Functional: health is a state of being necessary to perform certain physical and mental activities (Townsend, Davidson & Whitehead 1990)However, none of the existing definitions or groups fully reflects the essence of this highly complex and multilateral concept. One common definition of health is the following: “health is positive concept that emphasises social and personal resources, as well as physical capabilities. It involves the capacity of individuals – and their perceptions of their ability – to function and to cope with their social and physical environment, as well as with specific illnesses and with life in general” (WHO, 1984). The broadness of this definition implies that the factors influencing health are multiple and complex. Other popular definitions and models of health highlight the same feature of this concept. Thus, Dahlgren and Whitehead (1991) in one the most widely used models of health identify the following levels of individual health: • The first-layer factors including age, gender and genetic inheritance; • The second-layer factors including behavioural patterns (physical activity, smoking, dieting);• The third-layer factors including social position, economic resources and the material environment; • And finally, the fifth-layer factors including the economic...
It involves the capacity of individuals - and their perceptions of their ability - to function and to cope with their social and physical environment, as well as with specific illnesses and with life in general" (WHO, 1984). The broadness of this definition implies that the factors influencing health are multiple and complex. Other popular definitions and models of health highlight the same feature of this concept.
Thus, Dahlgren and Whitehead (1991) in one the most widely used models of health identify the following levels of individual health:
The first-layer factors including age, gender and genetic inheritance;
The second-layer factors including behavioural patterns (physical activity, smoking, dieting);
The third-layer factors including social position, economic resources and the material environment;
The fourth-layer factors including the wider or underlying determinants, consisting of social and community networks, work environment, housing and living conditions, education and transport.
And finally, the fifth-layer factors including the economic, cultural, political and environmental conditions in the society in general (p.41-42).
In 2006, a group of U.S. researchers conducted an interesting qualitative study in order to find out which definition of health better reflects the opinion of health care professionals. The study involved 73 practitioners most of whom viewed health as the interrelatedness of physical, mental, and spiritual factors. However, none of the participants adopted a single model or definition of health described in the literature: they freely combined elements from several definitions and models (Julliard, Klimenko & Jacob 2006). Therefore, attempts to identify such definition or model of health that would fully reflect ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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