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To What Extent Does Difference In Gender, Ethnicity And Class Influence Health Inequalities?

2801 words - 12 pages

Health is a large cause of one of the most important social divisions in society, with a divide existing between those whom are healthy and those who are not. Your health largely impacts the quality of life which you can lead, meaning there is those who are healthy and can lead a good quality of life, and those whose quality of life is impaired by illness and the potential illness surrounding their lives. The divisions which create health inequalities affect many aspects of everyday life. Though this division is sometimes just down to pure chance, there are structural factors which mean that those who face ill health often come from particular groups. Gender, ethnicity and class all have an influence on health inequalities. Those from lower social classes are more likely to be unhealthy, work and live in hazardous conditions are have more unhealthy lifestyles including poor diet and smoking. too there are large differences in health between ethnicities, such as the way minorities are alienated by the health system. Gender is too something which can have an impact on health inequalities. Though everyone can feel the effects of ill health, this is something which is more likely to impact certain groups, especially those whom are less privileged. Structural inequalities within in our society mean that class, ethnicity and gender are all large factors in health inequalities.

Differences in social class have a large influence on health inequalities. Those from lower socio-economic groups are more likely to be unhealthy than those from higher socio-economic groups. National statistics show that poorer areas have a lower overall life expectancy than richer areas. Glasgow has a life expectancy of 69.3 were as more affluent areas such as Chelsea and Kensington have a life expectancy of 80.8 (National Statistics, 2005), these statistics show that areas with higher working class populations have lower life expectancies, showing the link between social class and health inequality. Physical environment has a large impact on health inequalities, something which is often a result of income inequality. Many illnesses are a result of the poor housing conditions which those in lower socio-economic classes may have to live in, “mould growth, brought on my dampness, is an important risk factor for repertory illness’ (LSE, 2005) Factors such as mould growth, overcrowding and temperature found in poor housing more commonly inhabited by lower socio-economic classes all increase health inequalities. Not just physical illness is impacted by poor living conditions but so is mental illness, “adults in the poorest fifth are more likely to be at risk of developing mental illness than those on average incomes” (Health Survey for England, 2011) and this can be linked to poor living conditions faced by the working class, “indicators of poor housing quality such as structural deficiencies, pests, dampness and mould, and housing dissatisfaction are also associated with mental...

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