The office of National Statistics providing a large range of health and care issues, Publications includes Social Trends and, for more detailed information on health issues, Health Statistical Quarterly. The publication provide a wide range of statistics on birth rates and death rates; infant mortality rate and suicide rates as well as appointments GP’s surgeries and hospital admissions, and these are looked into as social class, gender, age and geographical location. Government statistics also includes the morbidity rates rather than just the mortality rates, which is the amount of people in a specified period of particular diseases in probably a year. They question if it has increased or decreased, then for to be more open and specific they look in to sex, age, geographical location and social class. They will precisely measure the morbidity rates, measured in terms of prevalence of a disease; the total number of cases of specific disease in a certain time and population.
Mortality rates and infant mortality rates are usually made for a indicator of health and well-being of population as a whole. Health and well being may be declining within those groups is assumed is a sign, when they are higher or rising in a particular location, or among a particular social group leads to this lie in their social and economic environment. Mortality rates are collected from the official and necessary registration of death. Mortality rates are gathered from the different sources counting GP and hospital appointments, hospital admissions and the registration well known diseases. There has been more according of measuring levels of ill health.
Difficulties in measuring health
Always important to quote the source of the data when referring to statistics and using them in your work. Statistics should always be treated with awareness. You may not get an accurate picture of health and ill health when the statistics are gathered from official sources. For example some people who aren’t ill assume they are and attend to the doctors, and the ones that are don’t proceed to go to the doctors. Doctors could also assume two different diagnoses, for example one of the patients has been described as depressed just because they feel low and have no energy, as the other patient could be diagnose by post- viral fatigue syndrome. Another doctor could simply say it’s an result of just them not wanting to go to work.
Social class and patterns of health and illness
Social Class is linked to health because of four different reasons highlighted in the Black Report, The artifact approach is where the data between the higher and lower classes is not accurate enough, it’s a result of the way the data is source and collected. The social selection explanation is when people who are fitter and in better health have a better chance of being employed in better jobs. In comparison to people in lower social groups according to this theory will suffer more ill health and premature death because they are naturally less healthy and fit. Cultural explanations is when lifestyle choices are made regarding diet, smoking, exercise have an impact and make people less healthy than others in the higher social groups. People from the lower class occupations work in more manual situations than the upper class occupations. This can have a bad effect on the manual workers health as they are exposed to lifting and harmful environments. Statistics are treated with caution however there is a great amount of evidence that health, ill health and life expectancy are unsure according to social group and importantly social class. People with a higher class are living better and enjoying better health, rather than the lower social group.
The Black (Townsend et al), report the most influential modern studies that consider the reasons of differences. And following of by that are the Acheson Report (1998) defining and explaining comprehensive explanations of the relationships, with in the social and environment factors and health illness and life expectancy. The Black Report introduced four types of explanations of ways that will account for the differences in levels of illness and life expectancy, experienced by variety of social classes. The researches were made to think that the changes in health and well being were affected by how much their pay rate is; their income which then affects the environment they live in, quality and housing. There are four sociological explanations, 1 the statistical artefact explanation, 2 material or structural explanations, 3 cultural or behaviour explanations and number 4, the natural or social selection.
The statistical artefact explanation
The Black Report explains that the differences could not be defined by the point that the statistics produced a biased picture. They disagreed with people in the lower social class had a higher number of older people and people working in the usual ways to be in more dangerous industries , and would expect that they would have higher levels in illness, then the more younger people working in offices, cal centres and the other services industries. This shows that it’s not much of a social class more about the age, structure and patterns of employment of people, in the lowest classes which really describe the differences. Recently there has still been shown of links between the low social class and high levels of illness and lower life expectancy even when it has been researched for the bias in employment and age. Natural or Social selection
The reason for illness is apparently associated to having low wages, poverty, poor housing making people ill in the lower social class. It’s also been said that there is higher infant mortality rates and lower life expectancy for adults; however, it is the other way round. The people in the lower social class being in poor health aim for promotions and success. On the other had this explanation for sociologist is denied , they think because there is evidence to show that ill health is caused by the deprived reason other than making it happen. Cultural or behavioural explanations
This concentrates on the choices and life decision people make, their life styles and behaviour in the lower social classes. They explain evidence with people in lower class, smoke more, drink more, eat more junk food and have lack in exercise, according to having a poor life style. Also are more likely to die of heart disease, form of cancer, bronchitis and diabetes all because of the poor lifestyle choices. They smoke and drink to help them cope with their life difficult circumstances that come across, not the other way round. Material or structural explanations
The material explanation is known to think the social groups for whom life expectancy is less, and the infant whom mortality rates are to go higher. Suffering poorer health then the other groups, straight forward explanation for that are inequalities in wealth and income. Poverty occurs when having low incomes, which then leads to having poor diets, lacking in everything else they need to live every day.