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Health, Disability, & Aging

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University of Toronto St. George
Robert Brym

SOC101 March 2 , 2011 Health, Disability, & Aging Health 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 soar Areas of the world that are disease ridden are due to inadequate public health system 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 population’s average wealth A population’s 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 Women’s greater longevity Women’s greater poverty Why do poorer people have poor health: exposure to violence, high-risk behaviour, environmental disasters, can’t 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
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