Social Inequalities' Influences on Health | Free Essay Example

Social Inequalities’ Influences on Health

Words: 559
Topic: Health & Medicine

An overview of social inequity in health

The distribution of the wealth and poverty not to mention its level is of importance in any society whatsoever. About the various evidences produced by different scholars from dozens of countries, it is now clear that a population’s health is directly linked to its social-economic status. The studies have consistently shown that a majority of the people in the lower social class normally have a lower life expectancy in comparison to those in higher social classes. Amongst the many types of research done that of Wilklison (1996) tends to stand out as he goes ahead to argue that; it is in the more unequal societies that overall health is rather poor. However, some researchers have gone ahead to question whether income inequality is the only cause of social inequality.

How social inequities in health are produced

According to the World Health Organization (2010), the various health problems that exist in this day and age in most cases affect the socioeconomically disadvantaged people. These health problems include some cardiovascular diseases, some types of cancer, asthma, and diabetes among others. It is, however, important to note that there is substantial evidence on the adverse effects that ambient air pollution has on human health. Just as the epidemiological studies have revealed, people including the elderly who suffer from preexisting chronic cardiac diseases, diabetes, and congestive heart failure are just but a few of the subgroups that are sensitive to the effects of air pollution.

Another possible way through which social inequities of health are produced is through institutional racism. Given the current global trend on interdependence and interconnectedness, many co-operations still ignore the diversity that surely does exist. Therefore, it is the genuine ignorance of the minority ethnic group due to the difficulties experienced when trying to provide for a multi-ethnic population. Hence, the fundamental elements of a people are easily ignored. For instance, the specific dietary, cultural as well as linguistic needs which eventually result to social inequities in health.

Social inequities that may exist

Apart from institutional racism and environmental degradation that are normally a result of social inequities, income disparities are also a major cause of the same. According to Poretskina & Evdokimova (2009), over 80% of the Russian population does not have enough money to purchase some of the basic human needs such as food. This is mainly due to either the low income that these households have of which over 75% of the population is unemployed, wholly retired or looking after the home. With very little to spend on medical and other health programs, the Russian community is one where income disparities have created health disparities too. In this case, only a few rich people can access the rare medical services in the nation.

The relationship between social determinants and social inequalities in health

There is a strong relationship between the contribution that society makes to the health of an individual and just how much social inequalities affect the health of an individual. Humans need each other to survive both psychologically and physically otherwise, this may lead to adverse health effects. Similarly, the social inequalities taking place these days show that individuals focus on accumulating as much wealth as they possibly can. A good majority of the problems regarding health are a consequence of the irresponsibility of the man himself.


Poretskina , E. & Evdokimova, E. (2009). Social inequality: The situation in Russia and Belarus. Web.

World Health Organization. (2010). Environment and health risks: A review of the Influence and effects of Social inequalities. Copenhagen: WHO publication Office.

Wilklison, R.G. (1996). Unhealthy societies: The afflictions of inequality. London: Routledge.