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Kim Shuey (13)

Lecture 1 - Introduction

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Sociology 3308F/G
Kim Shuey

Lecture 1: Introduction HEALTH  The economic and social conditions that influence the health of individuals  Examples: o Aboriginal status o Early life experiences o Education o Employment and working conditions o Food security o Housing o Income o Social policy and safety net o Social exclusion o Gender Social Determinants of Health – Rachael Reading  Social determinants vs. biomedical and behavioural risk factors  Empirical evidence that supports the approach for the social determinants of health o How they get under our skin to affect our social and physical health  Western societies don‟t tend to focus on the social determinants for health as sources of good health as much as we focus on biomedical and behavioural risk factors Traditional 10 Tips for Better Health  Don‟t smoke; stop, or cut down  Balances diet, 5 a day  Keep physically active  Manage stress; talking to others and relax  Drink alcohol in moderation  Sun protection  Practice safe sex  Utilize cancer screening opportunities  Road safety; “buckle up”  Learning first aid and CPR Social Determinants: 10 Tips for Better Health (focus less on the individual)  Don‟t be poor; stop or don‟t do it for long  Don‟t have poor parents  Own a car  Don‟t work in a stressful, low paid job  Don‟t live in a poor quality housing  Be able to afford vacations  Practice not losing job/don‟t become unemployed  If unemployed, retired, or sick utilize all benefits entitled to  Don‟t live near major road/factory  Learning how to fill in complex application forms for housing benefits, etc. What is “Health”?  World Health Organization definition of health: “the state of complete mental, physical, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” o Adapted in 1948 and most well excepted definition world wide Criticism of WHO Definition  The word “complete” o “Perfect health is an ideal toward which people are oriented rather than a state they expect to attain” o For the most part, people live their lives in a state of less than perfect health that may be defined as normal  What is well-being? o Mental, physical, social o Difficult to measure o Does not provide a definition we all agree on Measures of Health used in Sociology Research  Mortality o Mortality rate: the number of deaths in a population o Infant mortality – sensitive indicator of what is going on in a population because infant health is usually due to environmental conditions the mother is exposed to, etc. o Potential years of life lost (PYLL) - gives a sense of premature death; how many years someone died before they were expected to  More years of life lost to younger individuals due to accidents or diseases, etc. in comparison to younger people  Morbidity – i.e. heart disease, cancer o Morbidity rate: % of population with a specific disease  Life expectancy: number of years an “average” person can expect to live given their current age o Can be calculated at different points in life (birth, age 65) o Increases with age – the longer you have lived, the more things you have avoided that could have caused you to die (accidents, etc.) o Shorter for men than for women  Mental health o Ranges from serious mental disorders to subjective indicators of quality of life WORK  Changing attitudes toward work – more focused on satisfaction, the meaning it gives to our lives („feeding heart, soul, and ego‟)  How we feel about our work spills over into other parts of our lives – relationships, etc.  An activity that produces something of value for other people o Note that this definition says nothing about a wage What we Think of as Work  Includes activities that are not performed for pay o Housework, care work, volunteer work  Can take place in the public
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