Patterns and trends regarding health and illness vary within different social groupings. For example, age and social class. Most people at retirement age are healthy and fit making valued contributions to society through paid work, volunteer work and by being a good citizen to society. However there are significant higher levels of illness in people over 75 due to their bodies being unable to function as well as it did as they age, therefore they are unlikely to receive as much exercise and fresh air, also they may be unable to stand up for long periods of time. This could lead to various complications such as not being able to cook. These factors all lead to an unhealthy lifestyle. Ill health is not the only worry that comes hand-in-hand with old age; for example, financial worries and bereavements of old friends could also inflict stress onto the elderly. This holds the possibility to lead to serious health complications and illnesses such as depression.
There is substantial evidence that the standards of health and the life expectancy of individuals varies according to social class. Individuals within a higher social class live longer and are healthier due to the fact that they can afford private healthcare. They also don’t have to worry about a loss of pay if they were to take time out to attend a doctor’s appointment or sick leave. Higher social class members are able to afford to live a healthier lifestyle. With a healthy lifestyle comes more expenses than that of an unhealthy lifestyle. Individuals in higher classes can afford healthier food choices, they can cook meals from scratch using fresh fruit and vegetables and organic produce. They may also have money to regularly attend the gym or even buy exercise machines for their home.
They also have enough financial stability to afford a safe comfortable home with heating and running water whereas lower class individuals may be suffering from damp or an inability to afford heating and electricity. Also, due to their higher class they possess a better knowledge of how to live healthily due to the fact that they may have had a better education and been taught the importance of healthy living. Merit 2 – Use different sociological perspectives to discuss patterns and trends of health and illness in two different social groups. Distinction 1 – Evaluate different sociological explanations for patterns and trends of health and illness in two different social groups.
The black report on Inequalities in health care was introduced by the Department of health in the UK by Health Minister, David Ennals in 1977. It wanted to point out why the NHS had failed to reduce social inequalities in health and to investigate the problems. He would do this by analysing people’s lifestyles and their health records from different social class backgrounds. It found that the overall health of the nation had improved but the improvement was not equal across all the social classes, and the gap in inequalities in health between the lower and higher social classes is widening. It seemed that some of the main causes of this were class and ethnicity. There are many different factors that can increase your chance of becoming ill and dying. These factors social class, gender, age and ethnicity.
The different social groups I will be discussing are social class and age. I am going to look into how these affect health. Social class is how people are ranked based on their occupation, education, income and surroundings (where they live). People claim that the higher their social class the wealthier they are and if they are in a lower social class then they aren’t as wealthy and most probably live in a lower class area. Poverty and inequality are very closely linked together and have a significant effect on a person’s social, physical and mental well-being.
The social class also has an impact on infant mortality rate; this is because children are born to poorer parents that live in poor conditions, these children are more likely to get illnesses or worst case scenario they could die. People from a higher social class are less likely to die of conditions such cancer, heart disease and strokes. People that live in a higher social class tend to live longer than others. Individuals that live in deprived areas have a very different lifestyle to higher class people. Individuals in the lower social class are more likely to smoke, less likely to have a good education and more likely live in poverty for their life.