Social Determiners of Good Health Essay Example

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Social Determiners of Good Health

Social Determiners of Good Health


Health is a major subject in the contemporary society following its impacts to the population. In the discussion by Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2010), being healthy entails the absences of disease or medical risk factors. Although an evolving discipline, it describes both the social and economic factors within a population that influence the wellbeing of the individuals (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2010). The inclusion of a social aspect in the achievement of good health affirms its significance in the community, especially its role in channelling development. This paper believes on the importance of addressing health inequalities as an imperative area that enhances the understanding of social determiners of health (Marmot & Allen, 2014). In particular, it centers on the socio-economic status as a factor setting differences in health within the society. It reports on social determiners of health within a low socio-economic status population of Australia. Specifically, it will examine the case of heart disease in the study population providing a public health intervention that addresses the social gradient of health.

Heart Disease in Australia’s low socio-economic Population

Social inequities, particularly about the economy play a crucial role in influencing the wellbeing of the population. In the argument of Marmot and Allen (2014), the social condition of the person links with their health status. Here, it is the social position of a person that influences their healthcare and lifestyle practices. As such, the occurrence of disease, with the example of heart disease follows the lifestyle practices of the population which is an outcome of the income and wealth (Marmot & Allen, 2014; Marmot, 2011). Further understanding of the discussion include the views by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2010) explaining the characteristic of the Australian health. Australia has a huge ageing population which may explain the trends of ill-health in the society. The ageing population interprets to low income since this population is relatively inactive in the labour force (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2010). As such, the population surfers a higher percentage of heart condition including over 60% of the population with 8 or more chronic conditions (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2010).

According to Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2010), age as a factor contributes to the socio-economic status. Consequently, the social status dictates the availability of health care and the practice of particular behaviour by the affected people. Older people are more prone to cardiovascular diseases, which are age-related diseases. Looking at Australia, heart diseases rank among the leading causes of death, especially among the aged population. The occurrence of these heart diseases is more common to the males than the female, accounting for the higher disease burden in males than in female (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2010).

Morbidity and Mortality of Heart Disease

It is important to examine the pattern of mortality and morbidity stemming from heart disease within a low socioeconomic status population. In the understanding of social determiner of good health, the wellbeing of a person is an outcome of the conditions surrounding the individual (Braveman & Gottlieb, 2014; Havranek et al. 2015; Marmot, 2011). These conditions explain the health-related behaviour exhibited by a person resulting in an increase or decrease in morbidity and mortality. In particular, the use of a social determiner of health approach highlights the living conditions of the population providing insight into the accessibility of health care service, sanitation, nutrition, and hygiene practice. Based on Braveman and Gottlieb (2014), the social status plays a crucial role in determining the accessibility of these health-promoting factors. As such, the model becomes a viable means to access how mortality and morbidity resulting from heart diseases differs along the economic structures of the community.

The application of the approach to the target population brings to light how the social setting contributes to mortality and morbidity. In the discussion by Braveman and Gottlieb (2014) low economy societies suffer sub-standards education, poor social support, and low employment rates. These aspects have a direct impact on the behaviour with a significant population indulging in alcohol and cigarette smoking. Consequently, such practice encourages the onset of heart disease further progressed by the poor healthcare services and low nutrition within this population (Braveman & Gottlieb, 2014).

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2010) supports the social determiners of health strategy in understanding mortality patterns in the population. It is through the model that it becomes possible to explain the changes in health status of a population, especially the contribution of the social and economic status. According to Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2010), cause-specific mortality and morbidity studies provide knowledge on the events leading to the occurrence of a disease and eventual death. Here, the covering of these events enables a comparative study within the population informing of efficient intervention that may counter the existing situation. In Australia, the mortality rates are higher among the older population influenced by the increased in cardiovascular diseases. Through the heart diseases, there is an increase in the burden of disease encouraging an upsurge in mortality and morbidity (Havranek et al. 2015). The imperative is the increased of this burden in the disadvantaged population not only by age but by the socio-economic status (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2010). Therefore, the approach explains how lifestyle contributes to disparities in heart diseases along the socio-economic status.

Community-Based Social Support Program

According to Havranek et al. (2015), improvement in social health follows the application of efficient measures such as those raising public awareness of healthy living. Moreover, there is a need to encourage equality in the provision of health care services such that the low socio-economic populations manage to access these services. The imperative in employing these interventions is the availability of social support. Havranek et al. (2015), explain that the social economic position governs the relations within the society. Consequently, these relations influence the availability of resources and their utilisation in the community.

In the discussion by Balabanova et al. (2013), economic equity and good governances are some of the interventions employed by different countries in achieving better health. Concerning, the achievement of good governance through the community based social support program, the plan includes advocating for a change in policies in managing the health sector. More importantly, is the use of the plan to encourage policies that ensure health coverage to the disadvantaged groups. In reference to Balabanova et al. (2013), good governance increases the transparency in the provision of health-related services resulting into a progressive growth in good health in the society.

An imperative area that the community based social support intervention aims to influence includes a behavioural change in the community. Abraham and Michie (2008) address the meeting of a behavioural change through the employment of a combination of techniques involving a focus on goals, feedback generation, and performance of a self-monitoring analysis. Moreover, the provision of factual information coupled with normative and attitudinal arguments enhances the positive reception of a change by the society (Abraham & Michie, 2008). Here, of importance is the communication and frequent sharing of information on good health practices. Through scheduling frequent meetings with the community, information sharing will occur. At this point, it is important to consider the discussion by Moore et al. (2015) on the need to analyse the effectiveness of an intervention towards its course. Early methods focused on randomised control trials, however with increased complexity in interventions; the Medical Research Council (MRC) includes a process evaluation plan (Moore et al. 2015). It is through the positive attributes of the MRC in managing a successful intervention that its application becomes significant to the community program.

The social gradient of health

The presence of a community based social support program will encourage more positive relations contributing to equality in the distribution of resources among the different socio-economic groups (Havranek et al. 2015). Its success in fostering positive relations follows the union of the community in managing local projects. At this point, the channeling of projects through the social support initiative becomes a source of employment. The participants of the program which includes government personalities and policy makers will effect a change in policy to include flexible well-articulated rules. The rules will encourage the unity of the community towards the development of excellent health facilities. Moreover, the availability of information on the community level will positively influence self-responsibility to good health and healthy practices. Furthermore, it will provide the public with a voice where learning and challenging the social inequalities occurs.

It is evident from the discussion that the management of social determiners of health, especially in bridging the inequities in the society incorporates more than just the health sector. A good example involves the need to promote health literacy which identifies collaboration between the health, education and the communication sectors (Nutbeam, 2000). At the communication level, the social networking sites (SNS) prove a viable channel to aid the passing of information on health practices (Capurro et al. 2014). According to Capurro et al. (2014), the availability and active utilisation of the SNS promote the availability of knowledge about the health services, policies and governances to the public.


Knowledge on social determiners of health provides an in-depth knowledge and understanding on how the socio-economic status influences the health outcome of an individual. In particular, there is the case of the heart diseases in Australia which advances the morbidity and mortality rates in the population. Crucial is the understanding of the disadvantaged groups in increased morbidity resulting from their low economy and thus poor access to health care. Therefore, the development of the community-based social support program provides more social equality and the availability of these services across all social status. The model integrates different sectors aiming to achieve the goal of improved community health.


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