Case study: Social determinants of health

Social determinants of health have a big influence on peoples life long well being. They vary form the structural determinants and conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. They include factors like socioeconomic status, education, the physical environment, and social support networks, as well as access to health care. These determinants vary from region to region. According to Sir Michael Marmot: Social Determinants of Health, research shows that although the United States is known to have the most expensive health care, there are still about 62 countries that offer better health than we do (2014 WORLD.MINDS). These are some pretty astounding evidences. Healthy People 2020 goes on to state that “health disparities adversely affect groups of people who have systematically experienced greater obstacles to health based on their racial or ethnic group; religion; socioeconomic status; gender; age; mental health; cognitive, sensory, or physical disability; sexual orientation or gender identity; geographic location; or other characteristics historically linked to discrimination or exclusion (Artiga, 2015).”
Addressing these social determinants of health is important for achieving greater health equity. One of the key issues in addressing the social determinants of health is the socioeconomic status of an individual or a family. Medical care should not only be available to those with enough money to afford it. Health is a fundamental human right; anyone who requires medical care should have access to it regardless of his or her socioeconomic status. Another key issue when addressing the social determinants of health is individual health behaviors. Unhealthy behaviors such as tobacco use, physical inactivity and poor nutrition play a huge role in social detriments. The social determinants of health are real and they have real consequences. It is important to recognize these issues and understand how to address them.
Social determinants of health come from a variety of factors including but not limited to political, social, economic and legal factors (Social Determinants of Health, 2016). These factors are all included in social determinants due to all being factors that have the possibilities to affect health and cause disease throughout the world. In one of the youtube videos, Michael Marmot explained a variety of key issues involved in social determinants. One issue that stood out to me was the fact that he states “simply having medical care, will not always lead to health improvement” (Marmot, 2014). He provides the information stating that the United States of America was ranked 50/194 states in the United Nations in terms of our maternal health. Although 50/194 may seem above average, the United States has one of the largest amounts allocated to our healthcare system and due to that, this ranking should be much higher. This shows us that the amount allocated to our healthcare system simply does not provide the best care or best health improvement, but actually provides the evidence the social determinants plays a large role in medical care.

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