Social Determinant Of Health And Social Care

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Health is a basic human need and is a ubiquitous human aspiration. Unfortunately health is not equal and there are considerable differences in long term health outcomes between people from differing socioeconomic backgrounds. Health is not only the result of biological or genetic processes; it is also influenced by the economic and social conditions in which people live in. These influences are termed as the social determinants of health and they can influence health either positively or negatively (Siegrist and Marmot, 2006). Social determinants of health are not fixed and include things such as types of housing and environment people live in, the accessibility of education and health services, income level and employment type. These factors can all influence a person’s lifestyle decisions and health. Inequalities produced through social conditions bring about unequal and unjustified health outcomes for different social backgrounds. Health inequalities tend to be measured along a social gradient. Research has shown time and time again that there is a social gradient in health, which runs from the top to the bottom of the socioeconomic spectrum (Moss, 1995). People who are less well off or those in socially excluded groups generally do poorly in relation to the social determinants, meaning that the chance of a long and healthy life is not the same for everybody (Siegrist and Marmot, 2006). The social gradient in health means that everyone is affected by health inequalities.

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