Social Determinants

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Health and Wealth
The statement, “people with more money live longer than those who are poor because rich people can afford better health care services” is inadequate. It leaves me to believe that income and health care are the only things that determine one’s health. An individual’s income is one of the social determinants of health that contributes to a person’s own health and has a variety of effects on an individual. Social determinants of health can be defined as the “economic and social conditions that influence the health of individuals, communities, and jurisdictions as a whole” (Raphael, 2004). The knowledge of the social determinants of health has gone through a vast amount of changes in perspectives as to how society decides to define health. My experiences and readings thus far have not only expanded my understanding of health, but also the economic and social conditions affecting health. From my own personal experiences, I have seen differences between the socioeconomic classes of individuals and their ability to access healthcare. Due to the fact that I am Vietnamese, I have visited Vietnam numerous times and have seen how individuals have lived a very unhealthy lifestyle such as eating the wrong foods and lack of exercising. Before moving to Canada, my parents lived in Vietnam and described how most individuals who were always outside on the streets were often sick and did not know how to take care of themselves because of their lack of knowledge of health. At first I believed that this was due to the lifestyle choices they made, however, studies have shown that these lifestyle choices do not go far in determining health status in contrast to the impact of the social determinants of health. In addition to these studies, when I recently visited Vietnam, I saw that the environment they were living in reflected their income level and health status. According to Raphael (2004), “socioeconomic status and income status are powerful predictors of...
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