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Health and Society.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Sheldon Ungar

Health and Society  Health: UN definition  o A state of complete phsyical, mental and social well-being o  what could this really mean?   1 in 4 suffer mental illness in a lifetime  aging and nuisance afflictions  Health is as much social as biological  o Related to o  social inequalities  technology  social resources  social constructionism  Life Expectancy over Time  o has increased greatly over time, 1901 was barely 50, and 1996 was roughly 75 o life expectancy has jumped up recently  Health & stratification  o rich live upstream o  Toronto vs. countryside...?   better off in the city, people tend to live longer  close proximity to medical help; hospitals, ambulances  race o income & obesity o  bottom 20% tends to be 5X more obese than the top 20%  diet is worse o gender o  most research done based on medicine was done on men  ex. male arteries are slightly larger than women`s  Disease Ecology  o we are major engineers of viral traffic, but are unaware of it o  Pathways: e.g. dengue fever o Population density o  viruses need a reservoir or die out  stepping off a plane o War o  napoleon  1918 Spanish Flu o  Scientific Control of Disease past Century  o Us Surgeon General in 1967 claims contagious diseases will be wiped out.. o  vaccines  antibiotics o Shift in Epidemiology- Away from contagious diseases  Overstate the role of science  o Vs. Social factors o  ex. Dengue fever  TB Death rates over time (approx)  o was the scourge, has come a lot down since 1850`s and 1900`s; antibiotics emerged after the declination of TB death rates  Beyond Science  o improved nutrition o  Adequate, safe food   refrigeration  cooking at high temperatures o improved hygiene o  clean drinking water  plumbing  bathing  In other words..  o Rich is better  Social Resources & actions (rich vs. Poor)  o TB...? o  Deaths worldwide?  approx. 3 million a year; tends to occur in the poor parts of the world o MDR (antibiotic resistance) o  New York - contained  Russia  Antibiotic resistance  o medical/biological o  bacteria inevitably develop some resistance o Social- social overuse o  use in factory farming  over-prescribe to patients  Global anti-polio campaign  o why conduct it? o  to get rid of polio for good o why does it continue to fail? o  resistance in some places; distrust western medicine  Social construction of health  o Focus on individual behavior o  Vs. Social conditions o Cancer (focuses on) o  smoking  diet  exercise  personality  Questions about cancer  o How much do lifestyle factors predict? o Social distribution of cancer o  blacks have higher cancer rates; because they live right near toxic dumps o Risk society o  chemical soup   china cancer villages  Attention to Disease socially constructed  o Amount of media attention to issue is often unrelated to it's 'objective' seriousness o  note it's not always easy to measure 'seriousness'  Comparing Deaths in Canada  o SARS o  38 o Spanish Flu (1918-19) o  500,000 o Annual Flu o  500-1500 yearly o Cancer o  65000 yearly o Firearms o  1200 yearly o Car Accidents o  3000 yearly  Why so much attention to AIDS vs. Breast Cancer  o AIDS as novel o  like white bread o AIDS seen as general threat o  contagious  risk factors seem more controllable   (blood transmission) o Power o  AIDS activists young, educated  Women tend to be more elderly (breast cancer) o AIDS & celebrities  Social Construction on political attention  o Symbolic acts o  Likely to have minimal impact on the social problem, but create sense (illusion) something is being done)  most gun control bills (in Canada)  Asthma & Auto Emissions  Political Solution  o Monitoring of auto emissions o  Asthma risk   inhale particles <2.5 microns  car emissions14   particles >10 microns   except for clunkers  Why target cars?  o Able to engineer a consensus o Costs to consumers o  not corporations o Other targets more costly/difficult o  diesel fuel trucks  electric plants  Pathologization of everything  o professionals & Big Pharma
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