Why Is Health a Social Issue?

Topics: Health, Health care, Population health Pages: 6 (1908 words) Published: January 13, 2013
Health and Society
-Why is Health a Social Issue?

You might well think and ask, illness are concerned only with the physical condition of your body, why could one’s illness have anything to do with the society? However, one’s health issue can affect the society in different ways, for example, alcohol abuse and obesity that decrease the morale. On the other hand, health of a person does heavily depend on the traits of the society including standard of living and inequalities. In other words, not only one’s health will affect society but social issues have impact on individuals’ health too. In this essay, I will be focusing on how one’s health problems interrelate with the society.

Healthy and Unhealthy individuals
According to World Health Organization, health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being. Health is quite a general term where it is hard to define whether a person is healthy or not. “We need only reflect that it is quite meaningful to ask someone ‘Do you feel ill?’, but it would be quite absurd to ask someone ‘Do you feel healthy?’ Health is not a condition that one introspectively feels in oneself. Rather, it is a condition of being involved, of being in the world, of being together with one’s fellow human beings, of active and rewarding engagement with one’s everyday tasks. (Gadamer 1996:113) Therefore, society works well rely on one’s health a lot.

When Personal Health Issue Affects the Society
To determine whether a person is healthy or not, it is of much dependant on the individual’s lifestyle. Despite those healthy individuals who contribute to the society in positive ways, such as working effectively that will raise the economy status of a country. The effects of bad individual lifestyle such as drinking and smoking can be seen, not just in individuals, but also in our society as a whole. Problems can be seen as below.

Alcohol Abuse
Research has shown that in 1995 alone, nearly 14 million Americans are dependent on alcohol and about ten thousand people died from alcohol abuse. Not only the problem of abusing alcohol is having an impact, injuries and illnesses are costing a lot in the health care, lost productivity at work and economic burden. In the U.K, it was estimated that alcohol plays a part in almost 65% of all suicides. Despite all the outcomes that will cost in an individual, people drink too much take a further toll on families; especially to those parents who are addicted to alcohol will set a bad model to the children and might results in abusing their own children, commit crimes and go to prison; which in turn, all these will affect the development of a child.

Further more, obesity has been increasingly seen as one of the most significant public health problems. According to the International Obesity Task Force, research has shown that 1.7 billion of the world’s population was overweight or obese. Change in size of home appliance, the need for car manufacturers to enlarge the size of the seats in car to accommodate the people in growing size, for example, are all necessary. As a result, when everything becomes bigger, the material that is used will consequently increase the cost, which then passes onto the consumer. Hence, while people should not only consider these problems as potentially dangerous health conditions, they should also take in the account that they have impact on our society as well as the cost that will affect every one of us.

Acquired immuno-deficiency syndrome (AIDS)
AIDS has been concerned as one of the major problems in health related to society. The group of people who are blamed for this illness, and the proportion in different gender (i.e. “it is the sexual and drug taking behavior of men which enables the virus to spread” (Macionis, John J. 2007: 697)) experiencing AIDS has raise racism, sexism and it’s linked to stigma and prejudice. Moreover, “AIDS raises major political and cross-cultural...

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Macionis, John J. (2007) Sociology a global introduction. Harlow, England: Pearson
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Health Organization, August 28, 2008, p.3. Available from: http://www.globalissues.org/article/4/poverty-around-the-world#InequalityandHealth.
[ 2 ]. "Healthy individuals cannot survive when society is sick | News Sun - cleveland.com." Cleveland.com channel parent. Web. 13 Nov. 2009. .
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