Introduction to the Concept of Health (National and International Comparisons): The Determinants of Health, and Defining Health and Illness

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University of Ottawa
International Development and Globalization
Sonia Gulati

January 8, 2013 • Self-Rated Health Status; the percentage of the population aged 15 and older who report their health to be “good” or “very good.” o However, this isn’t the best indicator;  Japan has poor self-rated health status but the highest life expectancy (83).  On the other hand, the US have a high self-rated health status but the lowest life expectancy (78). o This is partially attributed to income disparity—a small percentage of the population in the US, for instance, control like 60% of resource.  There is less income disparity in places like Japan.  Wealthier people tend to be healthier. • However wealthier people living in LDC’s face climate change issues, poor infrastructure/health care system, violence/warfare etc. o As well, many purchase luxury goods and tend to neglect their personal health (poor management of resources). o But what is a luxury good?  Before technology used to be consider a luxury good, but nowadays can be highly useful, such as cellphones becoming necessary in poorer countries. • Life Expectancy; the average number of years a person can be expected to live. • Measuring racial/ethnic disparities in self-rated heath status o People born with disabilities tend to do better than those who acquire a disability later in life.  The subsequent group have more responsibilities, have trouble accepting their disability, etc. • Measuring health o Quantitative metrics; life expectancy, morbidity (how much disease in a population), mortality (incidence of death in a population).  The health care system pours more attention into quantitative metrics, focusing on preventative care. • Could be more indicative of future issues. o Qualitative metrics; nature of suffering, daily experiences, etc. • Defining health at the individual level o Investing more money at looking beyond diseases  It’s not only the health care system that can maintain the quality of health; some argue that this system plays quite a small part. o Focusing on things like human aspiration and rights to healthcare  Looking at more vulnerable minority groups such as Native Americans and the disabled and striving to give them access to healthcare so they can more actively participate in society. • “Health for All” initiative o What can we do overall to help increase health across the globe?  Talks about a subset of goals so that everyone can have at least some access to primary healthcare services and that these services can be given without disparity.  Encouraging people in taking a more proactive role to healthcare issues. o The global life expectancy have increased, infant mortality has declined, greater access for local healthcare (though still very poor conditions in some areas), safer water supply, and more educated on healthcare measures. • MDGs o Development goals that everyone should achieve by 2015.  Some goals have had extreme strives while others have been neglected.  These goals have been criticised; • Who was responsible for creating these goals? Why have a narrow set of goals? o Narrow set of goals can be better as it allows prioritization rather than drowning in information. • Public Health; an organized activity of society to promote, protect, improve, and restore the health of individuals, specified groups, or the entire
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