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York University (12,360)
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SOCI 3820 (14)
Chapter 6

Chapter 6 Ethnicity and Health.docx

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York University
SOCI 3820
Eric Mykhalovskiy

Chapter 6 Ethnicity and Health: Social and Cultural Factors Introduction  It has been estimated that since 1990 Canada has received on average 200 000 immigrants per year, proportionately more than any other country. The Social and cultural Construction of Health and Illness  Sociologist and anthropologists, however, have shown us that health and illness are social constructions; they are not objectively defined  Definitions of health and illness, and understandings of appropriate health care vary over time and across cultures.  Furthermore, in any society, some members have more power than others to define health and illness.  In Canadian society, the dominant cultural model of health and illness is that of biomedicine, and the experts are health professionals, such as doctors.  Different cultures have different understandings of health and illness, and people within societies are differentially located with respects to access to expert knowledge in this area. Ethnic Diversity in Canada th  At the beginning of the 20 century, the majority of immigrants came from the United Kingdom and United States; however, by the 1910s and 1920s there were increased numbers from European countries such as Russia, Ukraine, Hungry and Italy.  Immigration from Asia was law, and there is evidence that Canada’s immigration policy had racist undertones.  A change came in 1967 when immigration regulations replaced national origin as a criterion with an assigned point system based on an applicant’s age, education, language skills, and economic characteristics.  In 1978 a new Immigration Act incorporated humanitarian grounds as a basis for admission.  Changes in immigration policies over the past century have shaped the ethno-cultural composition of Canada. th  The most dramatic difference in the face of Canada between the first two-thirds of the 20 century and the Canada today is the large proportion of immigrants from non-European countries. How Are Ethnicity and Health Related? The ‘Healthy Immigrant Effect’  There is a belief among some Canadians the immigrants are not healthy and that they over utilize health- care services.  In fact, it has been well documented that when immigrants first arrive in Canada they are in better health than native-born Canadians and they also have lower mortality rates.  However, once they have lived in the country for a number of years, their health status declines and shows patterns that are similar to those of native-born Canadians or immigrants who have been in Canada for a period longer than 10 years.  This health advantage that newly arrived immigrants appear to have is referred to as the health immigrant effect.  A couple of possible reasons have been given for the healthy immigrant effect o One explanation might be that the immigration process is such that it selects what are perceived as the best immigrants on the basis of edu
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