The Determinants Of Health Equity
We all understand the importance of health and how it relates to being able to lead a happy life. Being healthy means that you are not dealing with any diseases or illnesses and you are functioning normally. In fact, health is considered one of the most important factors in determining a person’s quality of life. The definition of “healthy” is usually a reflection of the habits and values that a person has been brought up with and those that they carry on in their everyday lives. These values are usually passed down from parents to children and are carried through many generations.
One way of assessing an individual’s health is to look at their past and current socioeconomic status. Good health should be independent of one’s socioeconomic status and this is especially true given the increasing cases of illnesses and diseases related to lifestyle. Some people are more prone to poor health than others and these may be genetically related. However, environmental factors can also contribute to overall health problems. A good example is obesity, which is typically associated with socioeconomic status.
An indicator of someone’s overall health is their life expectancy at birth. Life expectancy varies across different cultures and countries. For example, in sub-Saharan Africa where life expectancy is 60 years on average, this factor is considered to be a very strong predictor of that country’s level of health. Similarly, Singaporeans have the lowest life expectancy in the world at only 31 years. These two examples reflect the strong impact of lifestyle and environmental factors on health.
The other way of looking at health is to look at health care disparities across socioeconomic status. Health care disparities occur across the world and they are particularly pronounced between countries that are more advanced in terms of overall health and life expectancy. These include the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada. In these countries, differences in health care coverage, access to quality health care services and health outcomes for older adults are stark.
Socioeconomic status does not only affect how sick a person is, but it can also determine their ability to pay for health care. For instance, diseases that are associated with poor health and costly treatment are usually covered by public health programmes but are rarely paid for by private health insurance schemes. This means that poorer people are forced to seek treatment outside the public health system if they suffer from such diseases. On the other hand, wealthier people often have access to better health and treatment and do not have to pay for such treatments as a result of their improved socio-economic status.
Both lifestyle and environmental conditions can be used as social determinants of health. However, they can be used differently depending on the needs of the population they affect. For example, poor nutrition and poor health can both be influenced by a poor public health programme but poor diet and hygiene habits might not be effectively addressed through this intervention. It therefore makes sense to use different health Equity indicators in order to target different health disparities, ensuring that everyone gets the quality healthcare that they require at a good cost.