Population Health and Income Inequality – Social&Family Issues Example

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"Population Health and Income Inequality"  is a worthy example of a paper on social and family issues. The article by Wilkinson and Pickett “ Income Inequality and Socioeconomic Gradient in Mortality” explores the correlation between population health and income inequality. Wilkinson and Pickett’ s role in health care relates to their epidemiological research works. The article relates to the themes of income and social responsibility of health professionals. Income denotes the amount of money received by an individual or a business for services rendered or investment made. Income normally has a direct influence on a person’ s health based on different arguments. The materiality argument has money at the center stage and states that money, it posits that money can buy health promotion commodities like food, warmth, and shelter.

In addition, it makes one have the best medical care and the ability to engage in social life in ways that make people become both physically and mentally happy (McLeod et al. 1288). They are always eating healthy meals, and living in clean neighborhoods free from pollution thus greatly reducing the chances of contacting any disease outbreak. On the contrary, low income may affect one’ s education and subsequent health status.

Poor health status will also affect one's employment opportunities and living conditions. Such may eventually lead to the establishment of slums and shanties in urban centers, which are very overcrowded, unhygienic, polluted and pose greater health hazards to people living there. Poor people are prone to diseases such as cholera due to their unhygienic living conditions, HIV/AIDS whose spread is behavioral, Tuberculosis, malnutrition among others, which are poverty-related. Due to these inequalities, which exist between the rich and the poor, underprivileged individuals will always associate with individuals of identical social status (Wilkinson and Pickett 701).

On the contrary, the rich associate with persons of their social status, which leads to society grading into classes thus the gap continues to widen. One's financial position dictates the social environments that he or she lives. People living in low income are often a stressful lot who would only prefer associating with poor individuals (Lynch et al. 1425). Their inferiority complex, stress and anger levels will always predispose them to mental and pressure related illnesses.

Scientists argue that the persistent distress caused by inadequate money can get ‘ under the skin’ and cause biochemical changes in the body whose long-term experience can damage psychological systems culminating in poor health. Socially disadvantaged people normally exhibit unhealthy and negative behaviors such as unhealthy diets, which are very affordable to them. Drinking, smoking, and other forms of drug abuse are attempts to suppress stress levels that continue to pose a health risk to poor individuals. Ill health normally hinders individuals from getting certain types of employment like joining the Armed Forces.

The prolonged illness may also affect one’ s academic and social achievements like sports thereby rendering one’ s life miserable. Social responsibility is an ethical behavior expected of an individual or organization to display for the benefit of the society it serves and beyond. Health disparities are inequalities such as social status, income level, physical and social environments, as well as employment, which exists within a population (McLeod et al. 1291). It hinders the affected persons from accessing quality health care services among others. These disparities have a human cost and pose a burden on communities and individuals affected, as well as economic health sectors.

Some health disparities may arise from poor dietary literacy, eating habits and ignorance thereby predisposing individuals to poor health outcomes. Disparities in health care are normally persistent among the lower socio-economic group given that these individuals are more often than not fall sick or injured due to their living conditions and other risk factors they are susceptible to. Disparities in the health system are mostly attributable to access to quality health services. Access to good healthcare is particularly a menace to most communities in the rural set up where there is the inadequacy of health facilities, resources and healthcare professionals (Wilkinson and Pickett 702).

Rural patients are forced to weigh options between traveling long distances to acquire specialized medical attention or stay around and get what most of them consider to be sub standardized healthcare. Social responsibility is, therefore, necessary for healthcare professionals to handle the diverse needs of the many rural populations with the limited healthcare facilities available. Most of the medical trainees’ health advocacy role is focusing on addressing and responding to community health disparities as they have extensive knowledge of the community and their health concerns (Lynch et al.

1427). Social responsibility comes as a bonus value addition or charity rather than competency and, therefore, remains in that context. This means that social responsibility becomes a bedrock principle for training medics throughout the process. Health disparities exist in communities, and many nations are still struggling to minimize them. They are majorly a reflection of unequal resource distribution in the societies, which give rise to other determinants.

Many governments have accepted the social responsibility mandate to which they have incorporated in medical schools, education research, and healthcare provisions. Social Responsibility is a value that forms the foundation of functions and tasks of healthcare providers (McLeod et al. 1293). Regardless of the inadequacy of professionals, healthcare facilities and equipment, a good working environment espoused by social responsibility forms a cordial relationship between the community and healthcare professionals. There are misunderstandings surrounding the extent of social responsibility in medical schools about the alignment of actions and intentions.

Health stakeholders, therefore, have a role to play in ensuring that competencies of the medics have the necessary ingredients to handle modern health practices in communities. The professionals also have a social responsibility to play by providing leadership and services in a socially responsible way not to compromise their activities, dignity, accreditation and program governance.


Lynch, John et al. “Associations between Income Inequality and Mortality among US States: The Importance of Time Period and Source of Income Data.” American Journal of Public Health 95.8 (2005): 1424–1430. ajph.aphapublications.org (Atypon). Web. 27 Apr. 2015. http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2004.048439

McLeod, Christopher B. et al. “Income Inequality, Household Income, and Health Status in Canada: A Prospective Cohort Study.” American Journal of Public Health 93.8 (2003): 1287–1293. ajph.aphapublications.org (Atypon). Web. 27 Apr. 2015. http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.93.8.1287

Wilkinson, Richard G., and Kate E. Pickett. “Income Inequality and Socioeconomic Gradients in Mortality.” American Journal of Public Health 98.4 (2008): 699–704. ajph.aphapublications.org (Atypon). Web. 27 Apr. 2015. http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2007.109637

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