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Relationship Between Socioeconomic Status And Health In Australia

2569 words - 10 pages

SynopsisIn reporting to the NSW Minister of Health on "the relationship between socioeconomic status & health", a number of issues and variables need to be examined. These include:the health inequalities of all Australiansmigrant healthclass and healthgender and healthaboriginality and healtholder age and healtheffect of politics and policyways of reducing the difference in healthFor the purposes of this study, I will examine how the relationship between socioeconomic status and health impacts on the Australian health context. I will also examine how this issue relates to politics and policy, and analyse strategies for improving this situation.IntroductionStudies have consistently found that there are overwhelming inequalities in the health of Australians. Some of the socioeconomic groups at greatest disadvantage are migrants, those of lower class, males, aboriginals, and the elderly. Generally disadvantaged socioeconomic groups are found to:* have the poorest health* be the highest users of primary and secondary health services (because they are sicker), but the lowest users of preventative servicesStudies such as the (National Health Strategy 1992:13-14), have found that:* low levels of economic resources and little social support affect health adversely* behavioural risks most prevalent in disadvantaged groups explain some of the health differentials* the decline in socioeconomic status experienced by some people as a result of ill health helps explain the link between socioeconomic status and health* those of low socioeconomic status make less use of preventative and screening services, which may relate to issues of access and lack of economic resources* lack of access to health care, particularly preventative health care, may also partly explain the link between socioeconomic status and health* policies to reduce inequalities in health status should consider a social view of health emphasizing change beyond the health system, and improvements within the health care system itselfMajor health inequalities of all AustraliansThe relationship between socioeconomic status and health in the general Australian population is illustrated by mortality, morbidity, risk factors, and health service use.As the (National Health Strategy 1992:19-20) outlines:Those of the lowest socioeconomic status have the highest standardized death rates in Australia. Certain risk factors are commonly recognized as increasing the risk of developing various health problems, including coronary heart disease and certain cancers. These include smoking, high cholesterol, obesity, excessive drinking and poor nutrition.Additionally, the use of hospitals and doctors may be greater by people of low socioeconomic status. There is some evidence that although those of low socioeconomic status do make greater use of these services, this differential reduces when the fact that their health is poorer is taken into account.Migrant healthAustralia is one of the most ethnically diverse...

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