Social Determinants of Health Inequalities

Read “Social Determinants of Health Inequalities” by Marmot, 2005, located in the Reading & Study folder for this module/week. Discuss the following points in your thread. Review the Discussion Board Instructions before posting your thread.

Marmot uses the more European term “health inequalities,” while most American authorities prefer “health disparities” when referring to the large differences of health status between different social groups. Discuss 3 reasons for these inequalities/disparities and what can be done to address them.

There are a variety of reasons that inequalities/disparities exist among different social groups. According to Marmot, one reason is a difference in the development of health systems.1 There needs to be a greater importance put into developing health systems, so that there can be a greater control in eliminating major diseases along with an improvement in the quality of healthcare. Another difference for healthcare inequalities is in regard to poverty. Research states that major infectious diseases are linked with poverty as well as factors such as dirty water, poor nutrition, and the absence of healthcare.1 Lastly, social determinants of health are of importance. This health inequality supplements health systems and poverty. Therefore, it is necessary for countries to implement and create social conditions that are aimed toward addressing various social determinants.1

According to a recent US Census Bureau report, over 1 in 5 American children live in poverty, and the rate is increasing. Discuss factors contributing to childhood poverty in America. Who is responsible? Offer realistic suggestions to turn this problem around.

There are many factors that contribute to childhood poverty in America. Some of these factors include: their parents not having at a high school education, living in a home that doesn’t have a native English speaker, teen mothers, and living in a single parent household.2 Various programs and state policies have been created and implemented to help address these factors, however, it is not enough.2 The responsibility of ending childhood poverty lies solely on the government and the parents. Children are the future, therefore, in order to turn this problem around I think there needs to be more jobs created, a higher minimum wage, and a larger investment in quality child care and early childhood education.

The poorest countries typically have the worst health. Explain the apparent paradox that China exhibits by having relatively good health despite low incomes of its people. By comparison, Russia is more typical in having lower incomes and relatively poorer health.

Despite the fact that China may have an extremely low gross national product per person, it is able to still have individuals with good health and a high life expectancy rate. How can this be? Well, it is because China has made it a priority for their people to have access to health care, basic education, and other social services.3 Research also states that China also has a high literacy rate among females and therefore it is believed that this also has an affect on having a lower under-5 mortality rate as well.3

The gospel of Mark records a story of Jesus’ disciples criticizing a woman for what they claimed was a misuse of resources (Mark 12:1–10). In his rebuke to them Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me (14:7).” Propose a solution to the age-old problem of balancing the internal administrative needs of the church with its obligation to help those in need. How much should the church help the poor in society?

As it says in the book of Acts, “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). I believe that each one of us, as children of God, should want to help one another in the time of need.

I don’t believe that the responsibility should weigh heavily on the church to help the poor in society. I feel that if a church is able to have things created towards helping the poor (such as a food pantry or fund that is dedicated to helping someone in their congregation during a hardship) than that’s great. However, the church shouldn’t be solely responsible for going out of their way if it is not feasible, as it is the responsibility of each person in society to do their part by helping the poor.