Influences on the Health of a Community
The health of a community is influenced by many factors including the social, cultural, and ethnic mix of the community, varying individual belief and moral systems, and the impact of political and economic factors to name a few. Strong social community associations, affiliations, and ties, within the interior of the community also influence the overall health of the community collective. Additional influences are the actual physical environment, surroundings, and available activities and resources of the community in which the citizens live, work, play, and perform all the other associated activities of daily life.
Socioeconomics and the Spartanburg Community
Spartanburg County is one of the major cities in the State of South Carolina. Spartanburg County has an estimated population of over 288,700 people (South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control, 2013). Spartanburg County is primarily rural in nature and is challenged by many socioeconomic issues and factors, including a high incidence of poverty, unemployment, and illiteracy. The community of Spartanburg, S.C has been hit hard by the closing of many of the local manufacturing plants and textile mills. The current unemployment rate is 7.7% (South Carolina Employment Security Commission, 2013). Because of the high ratio of low income or unemployed family homes within the community and the lack of available resources, many of the residents of Spartanburg County are challenged by poor housing, inadequate nutrition, sedentary lifestyles, and access to quality medical care which impacts the individual’s health and the overall community health.
Lifestyles and Behaviors Related to Individual and Community Health
Research on healthcare disparities demonstrates an increase in unhealthy behaviors for those of lower economic status and class. Some of these activities may be excessive alcohol consumption, use of tobacco, unsafe sexual practices, poor dietary practices, and sedentary lifestyles (International Centre for Health and Society, 2003). Those who are impoverished and live in lower income communities often cannot afford foods that promote a healthy diet. Due to the lack of affordability and/or access to healthy foods, fast and cheap food sources often become the choice for mealtimes.
Living in impoverished neighborhoods and communities also increases the individual stress levels of the citizens. Living in impoverished neighborhoods and communities significantly increases a person’s chances of becoming a victim of crime and significantly decreases average life expectancy. Due to these external factors and resulting stressors the prevalence of self-medicating with drugs and alcohol within low income neighborhoods is significant (International Centre for Health and Society, 2003).
Individual and Community Access to Medical Care
Socioeconomic status and cultural position is most...