Essay on Social Inequality of Health

Essay on Social Inequality of Health

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The United States reportedly spends over $8,000 per person on healthcare annually. This amount is two-and-a-half times greater than any other developed country in the world (Kane, 2012). However, this is not reflected statistically in the morbidity and mortality rates of its citizens. Many may ask why and what are we missing. To answer these questions, one may need to look no further than their own town and community.
In 2013, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported health disparities as a causative factor for the unchanging morbidity and mortality rates in the United States. The World Health Organization defines social determinants of health as “conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age”, and also identify them as the main cause for health inequalities worldwide (WHO, 2013). Health disparities affect people of all ages. The risk of dying before the age of 65 is over three times greater for citizens at the socioeconomic bottom of society than those at the top (Alder & Stewart, 2007). The youngest citizens are not immune to these facts. Infants born to mothers with less than 12 years of education are twice as likely to die during their first year of life compared to those born to mothers with 16 or more years of education (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2008).
Healthcare is a continually evolving and changing with aims of improving patient care, cost containment, and research that advances medications and procedures beyond expectations. The majority of focus is on disease processes and treatments. Therefore, the effects of lower economic status on personal health may not be receiving the attention it deserves. The nursing profession is in a unique position to assist in providing the advocacy,...


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...on the social determinants of health. Health Promotion International, 26(1), 4-13. doi:10.1093/heapro/daq049
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. (RWJF, 2008). Overcoming obstacles to health: Report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to the commission to build a healthier America. Retrieved from http://www.commissiononhealth.org/PDF/ObstaclesToHealth-Report.pdf
Williams, S. D., Hansen, K., Smithey, M., Burnley, J., Koplitz, M., Koyama, K., & ... Bakos, A. (2014). Using Social Determinants of Health to Link Health Workforce Diversity, Care Quality and Access, and Health Disparities to Achieve Health Equity in Nursing. Public Health Reports, 12932-36.
World Health Organization. Social Determinants of Health. (May 7, 2013). What are social determinants of health?. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/social_determinants/sdh_definition/en/index.html on January 16, 2014.

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