How Does Poverty Affect People’s Health and Well-Being?

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The health and well-being of a person depends on lots of different circumstances. It is about finding a good work / life balance and feeling healthy in body as well as mind. It is about feeling good in what you do and who you are as a person, it is about achieving personal goals and accomplishing your hopes and dreams.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines Health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”

A person has to be able to enjoy the things they do socially and physically, to be able to develop and sustain good relationships, whether personal or social, which makes them feel part of something and connected to others such as friends, family, colleagues and neighbours. They have to feel in control of their own lives and have a sense of belonging and meaning to their existence. This gives purpose for an enjoyable life and a good feeling about life in general.

Ronald Labonte states that there are three sets of factors to health and well-being. They are Physical, Mental and Social. He shows how these are interconnected on his model of health and well-being. It shows the various outcomes from the different combinations and in what areas. Well-being can be achieved by doing things that we enjoy, developing good relationships with others, feeling good about our life and living conditions and having energy to enjoy it all. It is about having meaning and purpose to our lives.

However, whole communities can be affected by good or bad health. This can be dependent on the environment and area they live in as well as their current situation and what they do. Living in an area which has a high level of deprivation can have a big impact on a persons well being and eventually it can take its toll on their health. Living in a neglected neighbourhood can change a persons characteristics as well as their behaviour. Low income, poor housing and no support can all contribute to poor health.

A person’s income and education level can have an impact on their health and well-being. If a person is on low income then they may not be able to afford to live anywhere else. They may not be able to afford to keep their children in school.

Relationships with your family and friends can also affect the way you feel and can have an impact on your well-being and mental health and this could be positive or negative depending on the relationship. If for example you live in an area where you have no support from family or friends you may feel isolated and alone and if the neighbourhood is not a safe one you may be afraid to go out therefore never getting to meet new people or get the relevant help you need. People who live in poverty are usually claiming state benefits to survive.

Poverty is defined in two ways, Absolute and Relative.

Absolute poverty has been defined as “a minimum subsistence level based on essentials for survival” These are the basic human needs, food, water, clothes, sanitation, health, shelter, education and information.

Relative poverty describes your current standard of living. It is “having an income which is less then 60% of the national average Relative poverty is measured on the fluctuations in the “average” income rather then a fixed rate making it difficult to measure.

Living on a low income especially with a family to raise is hard work and very stressful. This can cause tension and arguments in the family which could eventually lead to the breakdown of the family unit and create even further issues. Trying to provide for children in regards to material things such as mobile phones, televisions, iPods, laptop etc can be emotionally and physically draining. It can be difficult trying to keep up with the moving trends while still trying to put food on the table and keep your children happy.

Children living in poverty may be at a higher risk of being bullied at school for not having the right shoes and latest...
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