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WS102 Lecture Notes - Sub-Saharan Africa, Obstetrics And Gynaecology, Medicalization

Women's Studies
Course Code
Tina Davidson

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Women’s health and wellness
*ideas about women’s health and wellness dominated by media images, which are
reinforced by the medical industry.
*the increasing media and medical attention to the “obesity epidemic” although
there is little consensus as to what, exactly, obesity is.
*The Body Mass Index (BMI) which makes little distinction between body types,
metabolism, bone structure, etc
*Perceptions o f female athletes as healthy yet they are often bulimic/anorexic, or
are much bigger than the images of “healthy women” we see in fitness
*the ideal body type for women strongly influences what the medical industry presents
as healthy
*Although we long for the “good old days” when people were healthier, life expectancy
and activity levels have steadily increased
Morbidity & women
*Death rates are known as mortality rates, while morbidity refers to ill health, disease,
and disability.
*morbidity is affected by class, ethnicity, and other aspects of identity
*Statistically, women are a higher percentage of those who experience ill health and
chronic ill health, but women are also more likely than men to visit a doctor and
attend to illness than men, and women also live longer. Both of these factors can
influence morbidity rates.
*Women are statistically more likely to experience ill health. However, women are also
more likely than men to attend to illness , and women also live longer.
*Women are more likely to see a doctor because of pregnancy and menopause.
*Men are more likely to die of treatable/preventable causes since they delay going to a
doctor until the issue has become untreatable.
*Dementia Is a severe loss of cognitive and emotional abilities leading to impairment of
daily function. It is more prevalent among women, but here again, there are more
elderly women than men
*Women are more likely to consult doctors because they often bring children to doctors
as well; men – physical endurance, not giving in to pain so they are more likely not
to admit they are in pain
Gender bias in medical research
*women tend to be excluded from health studies because
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