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SOC Chap 19 Notes.docx

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Malcolm Mac Kinnon

SOC – Chap 19 Notes: Health and Medicine Health and Inequality  Life expectancy: the average age at death of the members of the population o An increase in life expectance results in an increase in degenerative conditions such as heart disease and cancer.  Sociologists measure the health of a population by looking at the rates of illness and death  Maximum average human life span: an estimate of the average age of death for an entire population under ideal conditions  There are 3 Social Causes of illness and death: o Human-environmental factors: divisions such as social class, occupation, and nationality often correspond to sharp differences in the environments in which people live and work.  Environmental racism: the tendency for hazardous waste sites and polluting industries to be located near First Nations communities or areas populated by the poor, politically marginalized, or visible minorities o Lifestyle factors: smoking, excessive use of alcohol of drugs, poor diet, lack of exercise, and social isolation are some of the chief lifestyle factors associated with bad health and premature death o Factors related to the public health and health care systems: the absence of a public health system and a proper health care system is associated with high rates of disease and low life expectancy.  Public Health System: comprises government-run programs that ensure access to clean drinking water, basic sewage and sanitation services, and inoculation against infectious diseases.  Health Care System: comprises a nation’s clinics, hospitals, and other facilities for ensuring health and treating illness.  In the case of HIV/AIDS, spending on research and treatment is concentrated overwhelmingly in the rich countries of North America and Western Europe  On average, people with low income die at a younger age than do people with high income. Health deteriorates as we move down the social hierarchy for several reasons: o High stress and inability to cope with stress are more prevalent in poorer people. Lower class families must endure more financial/legal mishaps, less days off, more hours of work, greater crowding, poorer living conditions, and more noxious/dangerous/unpleasant working conditions o Differences in the earliest stages of development have life-long consequences. This includes poor prenatal conditions that are greater in poor families o Lack of knowledge. Less exposure to education or educated advisors who can offer guidance on maintaining a healthy lifestyle o Unequal access to health resources. Poorer people live in areas with inferior medical services o Environmental exposure. Poor people are more likely exposed to environmental risks that have a negative impact on their health  Racially marginalized groups are subject to negative health outcomes because of the cumulative effects of social exclusion based on race  There are also gender inequalities in health care: o Public health systems are slower to address and more likely to neglect women’s health issues than men’s health issues o Bias exists in medical research and treatment o Women have low status in many developing countries and many health problems are due to pregnancy o Women face a higher risk of poverty after divorce or widowhood  A richer
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