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Social determinants of health

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Sociology 3308F/G
Kim Shuey

Social determinants of health: - The economic and social conditions that influence the health of individuals - Examples: SES, wages… aboriginal status, early life experiences, education, employment and working conditions, food security, housing, income, social exclusion, gender, social policy and safety net Raphael reading: - Social determinants vs. biomedical and behavioural risk factors - Traditional 10 tips for better health o Don’t smoke, stop or cut down o Balanced diet o Keep physically active o Manage stress; talking to others and relax o Drink alcohol in moderation o Sun protection o practice safe sex o Road safety o Learn first aid and cpr o Utilize cancer screening opportunities - Social determinants 10 tips for better health o 1. Don’t be poor o 2. Don’t have poor parents o 3. Own a car o 4. Don’t work in a stressful, low paid job o 5. Don’t live in poor quality housing o 6. Be able to afford vacations o 7. Practice not losing job/don’t become unemployed o If unemployed utilize all benefits entitled to o Don’t live near busy road o Learn how to fill in complex forms for housing What is “health?” - We rely on doctor reports, institution of health to tell us who is healthy - Mental health - Physical well being Defining health: - World health organization definition of health: o “the state of complete mental, physical and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity “ - Criticism of WHO definition: o The word “complete”  perfect health is an ideal toward which people are oriented rather than a state they expect to attain.  The idea of good health is periods of good health and periods of bad health o What is well-being mental?  Emotional and mental stability  Your ability to reason (do what you’re expected to do)  Coping strategies  Free of major mental concerns; depression, anxiety o What is physical well-being?  Absence of disease  Being fit, body mass index. o What is social well-being?  Having support from your social circle  Being integrated in society  Being satisfied with social connections  Contributing to society Measures of health used in sociology research: - Mortality rate = the number of deaths in a population o Death from suicide, influenza, cancer etc. o How can we improve the overall health we are experiencing as a group - Infant mortality o They are vulnerable o They tell us about our ability to take care of our most vulnerable group in society - PYLL: potential years of life lost o An indicator of premature death. o Heart disease, cancer, infectious diseases - Morbidity rate = % 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  As you age your chances to live an extra 10 years or so grows  You pass childhood diseases etc. o Shorter for men than women - Mental health o Ranges from serious mental disorders to subjective indicators of quality of life (happiness, job satisfaction, absence of disease, stress free) Work - Changing attitudes toward work o Jobs were a means to an end before, but over the past few decades work has become a part of self-identity. It feeds our ego, our soul, our identity. - An activity that produces something of value for other people o Includes activities that are not performed for pay (house work, volunteering, elderly care, babysitting) o Can take place in the public sphere, or the priva
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