Health and Social Class Relationship

Why Social Class is Linked to Health

Social class refers to a broad issue characterized by different issues of status and levels of living standards. These include employment, background, wealth, culture, habits and taboos etcetera. The relationship between health and social class is complex. Health inequalities exist even among families living in a common street or neighborhood. The association between social class and health touches or applies to every health’s aspect; including life expectancy, maternal and infant mortality, susceptibility, growth and development. Research has shown that improved social conditions have positively influenced the health of families than medical discoveries.

Different activities and lifestyles between different social classes have greatly contributed to these health inequalities. Families living in poorer socio-economic situations have their health compromised by many factors shaped by ignorance and lack of basic needs and heath requirements i.e. it has been established that the poor are not likely to live and survive cancer. The effect of social class on health is therefore broad and can be either positive or negative.

The variables of social class and health inequalities can be surveyed from simple vivid observations. In this relationship, does poor health lead to poor social status or does poor social status lead to deteriorated health status? However, other factors such as gender and age affect health; many chronic diseases appear later in old age. There are a number of factors to consider while arguing this relationship.

Cultural explanation

Low social class people usually live within unhealthy lifestyles. They lack the resources to utilize on healthy diet and livelihood. They eat a lot of junk and fatty foods form a great percentage of their dietary. They normally acquire less healthy habits like smoking, heavy drinking and exercise less as compared to the upper and middle class counterparts. They perform hard duties for survival, easily develop stress and binge drink. These risky behaviors are unevenly shared between the classes and this contributes to the disparity.

Firstly, according to the capital social capital explanation, members of the society are mainly linked using various communal organizations such as club memberships, family, work, religious, and different political groupings. Research has shown that individuals with greater and stronger social cohesion are less likely to suffer from health conditions like heart attacks, as compared to those in social isolated areas. This explains why the unemployed, homemakers, and the retired report poorer health status.

Secondly is material explanation. Situations that prevail due to poverty i.e. lack of materials in educational provision, health; high-risk careers, poor living and housing conditions deteriorates health levels. Emerging and other contagious illnesses thrive greatly in more crowded residential. Looking at it from a broader view, health and life expectancy at large are generally low in the underdeveloped world unlike in the developed countries.

Diseases and class

Thirdly, is the existence of diseases and class that are greatly linked to heart disease in the public. However such kinds of cases have reduced among the high income earners unlike in the low class people. This is due to the difference in social and economic habits; the upper class people can afford more healthy meals, perform exercises, have low stress levels etcetera.

Obesity is reported more in the lower social class where individuals consume a lot of starch and sugary meals unlike in the top social tree where more fruits and vegetables are consumed. The lower class people have become most vulnerable due to such like factors to many diseases.

In conclusion, a close relationship exists between the people’s social class and heart diseases. Therefore, the heart diseases will most affect people from top class families since they have more access to sugary things and fatty foods, which the low class earners cannot afford.

References

Barr, D. A. (2008). Health disparities in the United States: Social class, race, ethnicity, and health. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Cooke, H., & Philpin, S. M. (2008). Sociology in nursing and healthcare. Edinburgh: Baillière Tindall.

Lareau, A., & Conley, D. (2008). Social class: How does it work?. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

Mooney, L. A., Knox, D., & Schacht, C. (2011). Understanding social problems. Belmont, Calif: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Weitz, R. (2010). The sociology of health, illness, and health care: A critical approach. Belmont: Wadsworth Pub. Co.