Health Inequalities

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Health Inequalities

  1. 1. Health Inequalities in the UK
  2. 2. 1. Your Health There are many influences on an individual’s health. These are often categorised into: Biological Factors The Physical and Social Environment Personal Lifestyle Health Services
  3. 3. 2. Inequalities in Health It is now generally recognised that there are many health inequalities in Britain. People can suffer health inequalities for many reasons,due in the main to: <ul><li>The geographical area they live in. </li></ul><ul><li>The racial group they belong to . </li></ul><ul><li>Their gender </li></ul><ul><li>And, perhaps most importantly, their social class. </li></ul>The common denominator of all these factors is that they all link to POVERTY
  4. 4. 3. Geographical Inequalities <ul><li>This still seems to be an important factor in determining standards of health. </li></ul><ul><li>There still seems to be a ‘north-south divide in the UK regarding peoples’ health. </li></ul><ul><li>However, it is also true that there are not only differences in standards of health between areas but also within areas. </li></ul><ul><li>Drumchapel in Glasgow is one of the worst areas of social and economic deprivation in the UK, yet it is only short distance from Bearsden , one of the wealthiest areas of Scotland . </li></ul><ul><li>In 1999, a report from Bristol University confirmed that, of the 10 most socially deprived areas in Britain, 6 were in Glasgow! (Shettleston Death Rate X 2.3 national average). </li></ul>
  5. 5. 4. Ethnic Health Inequalities Today, ethnic minorities make up about 6% of the UK population * There is variation in health amongst various racial groups. * For example,Asians are more prone to heart disease and Caribbeans have a higher incidence of mental problems * However, one of the main reasons for ill-health inequalities amongst ethnic communities seems to arise from RACISM and DISCRIMINATION * Poor “life chances” often leads to poor educational, employment and housing opportunities. * This leads to POVERTY and increased chances of illness and disease.
  6. 6. 6. Gender Inequalities The GENDER you belong to can also be a contributory factor to the amount of health you enjoy Due to 3 main factors: <ul><li>Biological - Women’s role in reproduction can cause ill-health </li></ul><ul><li>Material - Women still seen as ‘carers’ - commitments often force them to take low paid /part time jobs - can lead to POVERTY and ill-health </li></ul><ul><li>Ageing - Women live longer more prone to ill-health connected to old age. </li></ul>* Women tend to live longer than men * But they suffer from more illness during their lives
  7. 7. 7. Inequalities in Social Class <ul><li>In the UK the SOCIAL CLASS you belong to seems to be influential in determining your health. </li></ul><ul><li>BLACK REPORT (1980) concluded that while the health of the nation as a whole had improved, inequalities in health had not been eliminated. </li></ul><ul><li>In fact, Black stated that the ‘Health Gap’ between higher and lower social classes was widening . </li></ul><ul><li>He claimed that this was as a result of differences in social and economic conditions. </li></ul><ul><li>He said that people from lower social classes tend to drink and smoke more , exercise less and have poorer diets than those in higher social classes. </li></ul><ul><li>These poor habits can be traced back to POVERTY . </li></ul>
  8. 8. Health and Lifestyle Issues (1) - Poor Eating Habits and Obesity - It is generally recognised that Western lifestyle is bad for your health………. <ul><li>Over 50% of Britons are overweight and the number of overweight children is a growing phenomenon in the Western World </li></ul><ul><li>Often opposition from the food industry where a large % of profits can be made from junk food profits </li></ul><ul><li>Fat seems also to be a class issue . It seems the lower the class you belong to, the greater the incidence of obesity </li></ul><ul><li>Some proposals to stop children eating junk food have been controversial - In 1998 James Report suggested banning sweets and fizzy drinks from schools </li></ul>
  9. 9. Health and Lifestyle Issues(2) - Smoking - <ul><li>Generally that smoking damages health in the form of cancers and heart disease </li></ul><ul><li>Smoking seems to link to ill health and is also a class issue </li></ul><ul><li>By 1990s, professional classes had listened to advice and had cut down on smoking. </li></ul><ul><li>The habits of lower classes changed little during this time. </li></ul><ul><li>Young women are especially vulnerable, especially teenage girls. </li></ul><ul><li>Girls 20 years behind men in smoking habits </li></ul>
  10. 10. Approaches to Solving Health Inequalities (1) There are two major approaches to tackling inequalities in health: THE COLLECTIVIST APPROACH THE INDIVIDUALIST APPROACH
  11. 11. Approaches to Solving Health Inequalities (2) >THE COLLECTIVIST APPROACH< <ul><li>This approach to solving inequalities is based on the view that differences in health are beyond the ability of the individual to change </li></ul><ul><li>The view is that differences in health are due to major economic and social problems in society - eg. poor housing stock, unemployment, inflation </li></ul><ul><li>These problems impact on different people in different ways - but poorer social classes suffer most. </li></ul><ul><li>Idea first found favour in the Black Report (1980) and Acheson Report (1998) </li></ul><ul><li>Subscribers to this view feel that improvements will only come by concerted government action centering on anti-poverty strategies </li></ul>
  12. 12. Approaches to Solving Health Inequalities (3) >THE INDIVIDUALIST APPROACH< <ul><li>This approach is based on the belief that health inequalities are the result of how INDIVIDUALS choose to lead their lives </li></ul><ul><li>There seems to be differences in health habits between different social classes </li></ul><ul><li>People of lower social class seem to; smoke and drink alcohol more often, exercise less and have less healthy diets </li></ul><ul><li>Idea is that people should be largely responsible for monitoring own health </li></ul><ul><li>Government action should centre on high-profile health advertising campaigns etc. Approach favoured by Tory Government in early mid 1990s. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Current Thinking on Tackling Scotland’s Health Inequalities (1) <ul><li>The change of UK government to Labour in 1997 and evolution of the new Scottish Parliament in 1999 brought new approach to tackling health inequalities. </li></ul><ul><li>The Labour Government published a White Paper “ Towards a Healthier Scotland ”. This recognised the link between POVERTY and ILL-HEALTH . </li></ul><ul><li>Paper stated that ill-health and social exclusion are inextricably bound together. It rejected the individualist approach favoured by Conservatives </li></ul>
  14. 14. Current Thinking on Tackling Scotland’s Health Inequalities (2) <ul><li>Proposals suggested improvements to education, housing, environment ( Collectivist Approach ) whilst targeting smoking, poor diet etc. ( Individualist Approach ). </li></ul><ul><li>The approach was weighted towards collectivist with elements of individualism. </li></ul><ul><li>Improvements in child and adolescent health have become priority health targets in Scotland. </li></ul><ul><li>Today there is a definite move towards prevention of ill-health through collectivist and social inclusion policies. </li></ul><ul><li>A sizeable majority of the Scottish population steadfastly refuse to alter their lifestyles. </li></ul>
  15. 15. The End

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