Community Health

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The United States is a society of rich and poor. Large differences exist between these two groups, and the socioeconomic status distribution of the population relates to people’s health status. Socioeconomic differences in health exist all over the world; they tend to be larger in the United States than in other countries. Socioeconomic factors are important factors of both life span and freedom from disease and disability. A lack of health-promoting care and services in many racially and economically segregated communities provides a partial explanation for the link between residential segregation and the lack of physical wellbeing. Living in communities that lack transportation, fire and police presence, job opportunities, medical services, and quality education widens the health disparity gap. For example, those living in neighborhoods viewed as unsafe are less likely to engage in preventive physical activity. Studies also show that people exposed to multiple adverse neighborhood conditions, including poverty, geographic isolation, pollution and trash, vandalism, drug use, and lack of amenities, tend to suffer from depression and hopelessness. Research also shows that racial and ethnic differences in health outcomes stem from socioeconomic inequalities, adverse conditions in segregated neighborhoods, as well as institutional practices that favor whites over minorities. Reducing poverty, integrating neighborhoods, raising education levels, and reducing prejudice against racial/ethnic minorities would improve the likelihood of healthier and longer lives for minority groups. People with lower socioeconomic status, low education or low income or low occupation have worse health by almost all health indicators. They have more diseases, physiological risk indicators, disability, and physical and cognitive functioning problems. Socioeconomic status in and of itself is a fundamental cause of health problems that works through many mechanisms to affect health. It can...
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