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SOC101Y1 Lecture Notes - Immunosuppression, Boogie 2Nite, Public Health

Course Code
Robert Brym

of 4
March 2nd, 2011
Health, Disability, & Aging
How do we measure the health of a population? Examine the negative: rates of
illness, amount of population affected by illness, & deaths by illness
Maximum human life span will increase due to medical advances, likely to
increase in this century
Maximum average human life span, assuming they are living under ideal
conditions is 85
Ex. Canada average life span is 85, in other countries 81 we are being deprived
of a longer life due to social causes
Social causes have a large & variable impact on maximum human life span &
actual life expectancy
Social Causes of Illness & Death:
Human-environmental factors, such as industrial pollution
Lifestyle factors, such as smoking cigarettes, excessive use of alcohol & drugs,
poor diet, lack of exercise, & social isolation
Factors related to public health system (government-run programs that ensure
clean drinking water, sewage & sanitation services, inoculation against infectious
diseases, etc.) & healthcare system (clinics, hospitals & other facilities)
Where you live, social class, & gender among other factors that impact health
HIV/AIDS cases mostly in Sub-Haran Africa, most research concentrated in
North America where you live as a factor impacting health
Bio-medical advances contribute less to an increase in life expectancy as opposed
to vaccines, good sanitation
Improvement of public health services decline in epidemics life expectancies
Areas of the world that are disease ridden are due to inadequate public health
Level of inequality within society impact on health of citizens (as countries get
richer, people in them live longer) US life expectancy 3 years less than Canadians 
greater inequality, higher levels of obesity
Life expectancy varies positively with:
A populations average wealth
A populations level of equality
Poor people die younger because of:
Less access to health resources
Less knowledge about healthy lifestyles
Less ability to control stress
Gender inequality in health is due to:
Gender bias in medial research
Gender bias in medical treatment
Womens greater longevity
Womens greater poverty
Why do poorer people have poor health: exposure to violence, high-risk behaviour,
environmental disasters, cant afford even minimum healthcare, & knowledge in
regards to what constitutes a nutritious diet
Among people who have the same access to medical resources, people in higher
positions tend to live much longer lives levels of stress, if you have a higher rank &
income, it is likely that you exercise more autonomy thus, more likely to experience
less stress; if you do experience stress you have the resources & ability to deal with it
Low level stress results in decreased immune function, hardening of the arteries,
increased likelihood of heart attacks & other ailments
Health inequalities based on gender :
On the whole more research dollars goes into research of mens diseases 
gender bias
Differences in the level of treatment that women & men receive, some historical
tendencies to treat some ailments in men & not women
Women have greater life expectancies, thus they require more long-term health
more funding for mens healthcare services
Key Point : Although women live longer then men do, gender inequality
has an impact on womens health
Sociology of the Human Body, Sociological Lessons of Shallow Hal :
1.Human body not just biological entity but a social fact because we employ
cultural standards to evaluate peoples bodies
2.Much discrimination takes place against people whose bodies do not conform to
cultural ideals
3.People with disabilities are in fact perfectly normal
Ex. Experiment: Students tended to rank the people in higher positions as taller,
even though the professors, & undergrads were all the same height
In Scandinavian countries, there is not much differences in height according to
social statuses more egalitarian societies
Selected Social Causes & Consequences of Height in Human Populations:
Basic Social Causes Proximate Social Causes Height Social
Income Diet Life
Inequality Disease Health
Public health Work intensity Cognitive
Personal hygiene
Quality of environment
Height, Weight, & Social Status:
On average, high family income results in good diet good diet increases stature
Tall people live longer, earn more, & reach the top of their profession more
quickly than short people
Important Terms:
Impaired deficient in physical or mental capacity compares to societal norms
Disabled incapable of performing within the range of normal human activity
Ablism prejudice & discrimination against the disabled
Disability are socially constructed, different groups of people at different points
in time define disabilities differently (ex. left-handed people stigmatized throughout
Definitions of disability vary socially & historically (ex. until the discovery of
Viagra, no one thought of erectile dysfunction in a 75 year old man was a disability)
Societal Reponses to Disability:
1.Rehabilitation: involves curing disabilities through medical & technological
intervention; trying to improve the lives of the disabled by means of care, training, &
education; & integrating the disabled into normal society
2.Elimination: involves the killing the disabled or sterilizing them & preventing
the from having offspring