Health Inequalities

Topics: Social class, Health care, Sociology Pages: 13 (4595 words) Published: December 10, 2012
health Health Inequalities
Our much dated concept and measurement of health has generally focused on ill health form a physiological point of view. By the mid twentieth century, the health pictures had changed, people as a whole were no longer looked upon as disease ridden and ideas of positive health emerged. The WHO formulated its definition of health following the World War 2 during a period when the social health of societies was in question. The WHO exemplified the holistic model. According to the WHO. Health was and is still to be defined today as being the absence of illness as well as a combination of an individual’s physical, social, psychological and emotional condition these factors are considered determinants of one’s overall health. In comparisons to few of the former theories and definition of health that were more or less strict in its approach and depiction of health, the world health organisation had brought with it a more modernised in depth holistic understanding of what health actually entails. And an ideal understanding to health as opposed to measuring health from a strict biological point of view. The WHO brought into the equation many other underlining factors that just as well play influential significant roles in determining our overall well being. These determinant factors consist of the physical, social, psychological, emotional, environmental and cultural aspects of health. The WHO had not necessarily rendered the traditionalistic definitions of health insignificant or of non-importance as theses definition and perspectives of health are indeed authentic and are of tremendous use today and is ultimately the foundation or starting point into examining the health of an individual. However, the WHO stresses the point being that along with these fundamental factors comes others and through this definition, health theorists have taken into consideration these influential determinants of health when measuring health. Health was once upon a time measured against biological and natural conditions. Sociology of health is a subject that specifically aims to identify the relationship between health and society providing a much broader in-depth perspective on what health is and the potential causations of illnesses and disease. The aim of this subject is to study how exactly social life affects ones health and drawing links between the two. There are a broad variety of determining factors that could be attributed to ill health and poor well being however, health sociologists strictly concentrate on one area of health arguing that causes of illness and diseases can just as well be the cause of social factors and ones surroundings. Health sociology sheds light on the external factors that may cause the individual to contract diseases and fall ill. In 1991 Dahlgren and Whitehead designed a model representing their perspectives on health. This diagram reflected the social determinants of health and how they either positively or negatively impact on the individual’s health. Health sociology examines how society defines health and also looks at inequalities in health reasons for these inequalities in health. These explanation can be located in sociological perspective of health. Sociological perspectives are defined as being a range of explanations in regards to how society functions. As society passes through a transitional process, these perspectives over the years have been and are still being altered and expanded upon. Below are a few of these perspectives on health and illness. Functionalist Perspective

The Functionalist perspective focuses on the relationship between the sick individual and society as a whole. The perspective is merely concerned with the normal functioning of a smooth society. In regards to health and illness the approach looks at how health and illness contributes to society being normal. The sick role example given by the sociologist known as Talcott Parsons is an example...
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