‘Mao’s Last Dancer’ is a autobiography written by Chinese-Australian author Li Cunxin, published in 2003 by Penguin Books Australia. The autobiography was then made into a film in 2009 under the same title. The story is of Li’s life from his fate of labouring village boy to world-famous professional dancer. Through out the story, Li’s health is explored and impacted in many ways, including the social, biomedical, environmental and socioeconomic determinants of his health.
The social determinant of health is defined as the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping conditions of daily life. (WHO, 2016). In ‘Mao’s Last Dancer’, one factor that impacts Li’s social health is his early life. He was born into extreme poverty and raised as one of seven sons. He grew up underweight and with very limited opportunities and resources within education and health services. With his disadvantaged childhood, his social determinants were effected along with his dimensions of health.
The biomedical determinant of health tends to concentrate on an individuals genetic and biological makeup and their health and safety practises as causes of their health problems. A biomedical factor in ‘Mao’s Last Dancer’ is Li’s bodyweight. Li growing up in such poverty stricken circumstance and being born to a malnourished mother resulted in him being malnourished and severely underweight. While being flexible and agile, he was weak and the smallest in his ballet class. He was criticised for his lack of strength and he was disadvantaged among the other boys who were taller and stronger than he was. He was unkindly treated by his teacher which also took a toll on his emotional and mental health. Mao’s last dancer
The determinant of environmental health is defined as anything that acts on an individual and that can be linked to a change in health. An environmental determinant that was present during Li’s life was food and water quality. He was raised with limited food resources that hardly feed all the members in his family sufficiently and had to travel to the town wells to collect drinkable water that was already polluted by chemicals in the air. This significantly effected his biomedical and physical health also.
the socioeconomic determinant of health relates to the interaction or lack of between social and economic factors. Cunxin had a large immediate and extended family that had a far dated history of economic struggle. His parents were never going to be able to support the children for long as they worked with barely any income which added and pressure for Li and his brothers to start working and impacted his social determinants along with socioeconomic.
Li Cunxin’s early life impacted him and his family as the lack of food, low income, the extreme poverty, crowded and inappropriate housing and lack of...