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Health is affected by many factors in our daily lives. However, there are some factors that affect our health more than others. Health is more dependent on the distribution of wealth and public services than it is on personal lifestyle choices. For instance, being born into a family with a lower social status immediately brings upon a higher likelihood of sicknesses and complications during pregnancy, which is clearly a main factor in our health throughout life.

On the contrary being born into an upper class family allows for much more self-embellishment and a favorable position in the hierarchy of our medical care system, thus in turn allowing a longer life span than those not so privileged. Therefore one can easily see that the social class which one is born into affects his or her life more than any personal lifestyle simply because in our modern society you can “get anything for time and money”. In response to a British study that observed the differences between the longevity of “gentlemen” and “laborers” and found that “gentlemen” lived twice as long on average than “laborers”, Dr. Oliver Fein once stated that “person’s place in the social order strongly affects health and longevity.

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” [1] This social study clearly showed that no matter the chosen personal lifestyle, social order overpowered any other interfering stimuli. This was later also proven by Sir Douglas Black whom stated, “there are marked inequalities in health between the social classes in Britain,” [2] and through his study also noted that unskilled occupants had a two and a half times greater chance of dying before retirement than professional people. Through these two studies one can clearly conclude that health and social order are factors that are directly affected by one another.

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Money is able to buy health. A simple fact since if you cannot afford the appropriate medication to fix what ails you, then returning to good health can be very difficult. One obvious illustration of this is through the personal choice lifestyle of smoking. Smoking causes many harmful diseases and life threatening illnesses such as lung cancer, mouth cancer, and premature infants, alone with the guilt of thousands of others who are directly affected by the second hand smoke. Quitting smoking is nearly impossible without such stop-smoking helpers as “the patch” or “the gum”. If one cannot

afford such things, quitting is nearly impossible, and therefore very harmful to your long-term health. Personal choices in sexual activity are also a direct example of health and social order in relation to life longevity. Depending of personal sexual activity choices in one life health can and is directly affected. In today’s modern society, sexually transmitted diseases are more frequent than in past societies. Thus in choosing a life style in which sexual activity is very promiscuous there is a much higher chance of obtaining life threatening sexual transmitted disease such as the HIV virus, AIDS and others, compared

to an individual who has chosen to remain abstinent. In circumstances where one must use sex to acquire the money to meet the necessities of life, chances of ones health being affected is even greater. Again, as with smoking, there is now help to cure, prevent and lessen the affects of these STD’s, but if one cannot afford these solutions than they are left in a very tight position without a place to turn. Illnesses and injuries obtained in the work place can also directly affect health and social order. This is due to the fact that persons working in the lower social order usually

obtain jobs with less medical care and those who have higher health risks. This is example show through the difference between a blue-collar workers and white-collar worker. In 1930 a studied showed that unskilled workers were 23% more likely to die prematurely than professional people, whereas in 1970 they were 61% more likely [2]. Once again showing the social order as a direct affect on life span rather than personal life style choices. A study done in Britain of 10,000 employees found that there was a three-fold difference in death rates between the higher and the lower classes. Later in the United

States of America a similar study confirmed that “risk factors such as smoking, obesity, physical activity, blood pressure, blood levels, cholesterol could explain only 25% to 35% of the employment grade in mortality” and that the rest could only be associated with social status. [2] Combining both these studies proves without question that personal lifestyle choices affect the longevity less than the social order to which one is born in. Thus being in lower in pecking order rakes one to a greater risk of sickness and of premature death. It ought to be noted that no matter what aspect of life one is looking at, social

order always has an influence and of course. Personal life style also have an affect on health no matter what aspect one chooses to look at, but not as great an affect as one might think. For example, it was stated in “The Daily” that “food insecurity is associated with obesity”. This article was showing that when there is food available to one who does not receive food on a normal basis he or she will binge eat. [3] Food insecurity and health are associated in several ways, and thus social class can be tied in as well. There are numerous health problems, which are prevalent among those individuals who live in food

insecurity households than those who live in food stable homes. 17% of homes with food problems have significant health problems, while only 7% of homes without food problems have serious health issues. [4] Although it is believed that hunger is rare in Canada it is not and is therefore still a major factor in our health. [5] Growing up in poverty one finds it hard to get escape from that situation due to many factors in modern society. Poverty too often means problem resulting in ill health, poor nutrition, unhealthy development, and poor readiness for schooling.

[5] This again leads one back to the fact that if there is poor school readiness the child will not learn as well as one who has been raised in a family of wealth, where the child has not had to suffer through insufficient health care growing up. The above can even go as far as to say that often children in lower order social classes often do not even have the opportunity to go to school due to the fact that they are forced to work so that a family may obtain its basic needs. Thus the child will work in a blue-collar employment area and almost never have a change to get out of this chain.

While a child raised otherwise has thousands of more opportunities offered from birth on and will never be force to work a blue-collar employment. Therefore these individuals will remain in their social order throughout generations and will have to fight much harder than those born into white-collar employment social class. Thus this affects the health of these individuals because as stated before, health can be purchased in our modern society. Even though we are taught in schools how different we are from ancient societies, we are not all that different. An individual is still born into his or her social class and he

or she is brought up to live like those of his or her class. In our modern society individuals are able to more easily build his or her future on his or her dreams, but the reality is that dreams and hopes are hard to come by. Sadly due to the social classes impounded upon us at birth individuals must over come many obstacles in life, of which one is health. In our society, health can be purchased, as though it were a commodity, not something available to everyone but only to the wealthy. Such a commodity should not exist since we have a right to be healthy, however it does.

For obvious reasons, it is much harder for lower classes to purchase this health, and therefore, for obvious reasons, such classes are less healthy. Bibliography : [1] Oliver Fein, “The Influence of Social Class on Health Status: American and British Research on Health Inequalities,” JOURNAL OF GENERAL INTERNAL MEDICINE Vol. 10 (October, 1995), pgs. 577-586. [2] Andrew Haines, Michael McCally, Whitney Addington, Robert S. Lawrence, Christine Cassel, and Oliver Fein, “Poverty and Health: The Role of Physicians,” ANNALS OF INTERNAL MEDICINE (in press). [3] Shah CP, Kahan M, Krauser J.

The health of children of low-income families. CMAJ 1987;137:485-90. [4] Statistics Canada, (2001) “Food insecurity in Canadian households 1998/99,” Health Reports, Vol 12, no 4, August 15, 2001 Catologue No: 82-003-XIE available at [5] Simpson, Lee, 2000. Perception of a Problem, Report on Poverty. The Totum Report, August 2000, Toronto available at (Jan 14, 2001). Hwang, Stephen W. , (2001). “homelessness and Health,” Canadian Medical Association Journal, 164(2):229-33. Raphael, Dennis, (2001). Guelph Mercury, The Editorial Page, Friday, September 7, 2001, p. A8 Local Views

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