Health inequalities- 4 main helpful factors.

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Health inequalities- 4 main helpful factors.

There are many causes to the health inequalities in Scotland and the United kingdom, this is circumstances that make people have poorer health and more likely to die at a young age. This includes lifestyle choices like smoking, drinking, overweight and taking drugs, it also includes things like where you live and also poverty levels.

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Poverty- health inequalities

One main factor that impacts a person’s health inequality is their social class or poverty level. It was
found that the root cause of health inequality is poverty. In order to improve the health of millions,
the gap between rich and poor must be reduced. For example a report found that children from
poorer families weighed significantly less than those from wealthy families, putting their health at a
major risk. It was also found that infant mortality rates in lower social class were larger 8/1000
compared to upper class 5/1000.

Following on from the Acheson report it 2015, the Scottish health survey found that of those living in the least deprived areas, only 2% described their health as being bad or very bad, compared to the 18% in the most deprived. It has been shown that those living on a low income are more likely to have poorer diets, live in poor quality housing, have less money or heat to maintain their homes and have less money to purchase appropriate winter clothing, all of this can lead to a person having serious health problems.

Overall it is evident that the poorer you are , the more likely you are to suffer health inequalities, such as strokes, lung cancer or heart disease- health inequalities 1!

Location- health inequalities 2!

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Location- health inequalities 2!

Another factor that impacts a person’s health inequality is their housing location. The life
expectancy in Glasgow is 71.6 years, this is lower than Libya. It has been found that Scottish males
and females have the lowest life expectancy at birth in the whole of the uk.

Where male life expectancy is 2.1 years lower than the rest of the uk and female 1.8 years lower. For example 1 in 4 men in Glasgow are not expected to reach the age of 65. A baby born in the city’s wealthiest areas can expect to live 26 years longer than a baby born in the poorest.

The north-south divide exists in terms of health inequality, where the top 5 poorest places to live in the uk are all in Scotland. There is also divides between cities such as Glasgow and Edinburgh, where people living in Edinburgh tend to earn more. Have lower unemployment rates and therefore have a higher life expectancy and less health inequalities than Glasgow.

This can also be seen between Bearsden and Drumchapel where a 21 year old living in Drumchapel is 2 and a half times more likely to die before the age of 65 than a 21 year old in bearsden. Overall, it can be shown that a person’s health is more at risk if they live in more deprived areas such as Glasgow or Drumchapel. health inequalities- 3!

gender- health inequalities 3!

Another factor which impacts a person’s health inequality is their gender. It can be shown that
women generally live longer than men, however, although women tend to live longer than men,
they typically spend more years suffering from poor health.

For example, the average woman spends nearly a quarter of their life in poor health, compared to a fifth of men. One health issue which can be divided by gender is mental health issues which as seen as more of a female problem however, males are more likely to commit suicide.

For example, just over 3 out of 4 suicides are by men, making it the biggest cause of death for males under the age of 35. However, women are 3 times more likely to suffer depression or anxiety, however they are more likely to seek help. It is shown that men are almost 3 times more likely to become alcohol dependant, compared to 3.3% of women.

Gender- health inequalities 3

Another health issue that can be separated by gender is skin cancer, skin cancer deaths
amongst men have soared since 1985. It is shown that men are less likely to protect themselves from the sun and therefore 51% of melanoma skin cancer cases in the UK are males. Overall, it can be shown that a person’s gender has an impact on their health.

lifestyle choices- health inequalities

A final factor which impacts a person’s health inequality is their lifestyle choices. The four main
issues which impact health are obesity, smoking, alcohol and drugs.

Obesity can cause heart disease and strokes which are two huge killers in Scotland. For example around 64% of Scottish people are overweight or obese. 31% of children aged 2-15 are overweight or obese and children with two obese parents are 70% more likely to become obese themselves.

Social class also has an impact on obesity, children who are classified as obese are twice as likely to come from a deprived area, it has been found that 3400 people die in Scotland each year due to obesity.

Another health issue in the United kingdom is smoking, it has been shown that of 13000 smoking related deaths in Scotland, 90% were lung cancer and the women experiencing lung cancer had significantly increased by 97%, whereas the rate for men had decreased by 40%.

Overall it can be shown that if you are obese or smoke or drink you are more likely to have significantly more health problems than those who are not obese or non-smokers.

In conclusion, there are many causes of health inequalities but the chances of someone being ill or
dying young is made much more likely if they are poor or suffer from deprivation. As many studies have shown, poverty is one of the key factors in determining the level and extent of health inequality that they may face.

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