This essay will explain patterns and trends in health and illness among different social groupings, such as the upper class and the lower class. When explaining patterns and trends in health and illness among different social groupings, we need to examine statistics in measuring health to give us an idea into which social groupings have higher levels of ill health. One source of this statistical data comes from government statistics. These statistics from the government provide a vast data on infant mortality rates, birth rates, death rates, suicide rates and many others.
For example, according to the Black Report which was published in 1980 it argued that for adult men who were in lower classes who were identified as untrained workers their death rate was twice of that of men who were in the upper classes. This means that the death rate for adult men in the lower class was twice of that for the death rate in adult men in the upper class. The reason for this could be that the richer men have more access to private health services as they have the money.
In addition, another source of statistics that can be used to measure health and illness and to identify trends and patterns are from charities and certain groups that try to push forward certain policies. And finally, another way of gaining statistics is from scholars and professors. When looking at social class, more people in the lower class are subject to Tuberculosis (TB) than the upper class. Morbidity rates are also evident within statistics which are represented by the government and morbidity rates are the number of individuals who have an illness during a period of time.
When explaining patterns and trends in health and illness among different social groupings, the mortality rates, especially infant mortality rates, is used as a big indicator into studying the health and well-being of the population. (Beryl Stretch, 2010). It may well be that the mortality rates in certain geographical areas and social classes could be higher than other areas and social classes meaning that their general health is on a decline and there could be several reasons as to why this is the case, such as their social and economic environment.
When studying patterns and trends in health and illness among different social groupings, there are some inequalities in health and illness which was expressed In the Black Report, 1980 which suggested that it could be down to reasons such as the statistics were not reliable and didn’t portray an exact picture of health and illness among different social groupings in the UK today. There was one report which exposed some of these inequalities and this was the Black Report which was formed in 1980. This was a study which primarily looked at reasons for differences in health, ill-health and life expectancy between social classes.
Detailed within the Black Report, it argued that within mortality social class difference were evident beginning at birth. Deaths within the first month of life were twice as high for the children of fathers in the lower classes than they were in the upper classes. Research and knowledge have proposed that individual who are part of the proletariat (the lower class) smoke many more cigarettes and partake in more alcohol than those In the upper class. and this could be a reason to explain these neo natal data rates.
In addition, when studying suicide rates men from the lowest social class, living in the most deprived areas, are up to ten times more likely to end their lives by suicide than those in the highest social class from the most affluent areas. (Samaritans). According to this document on the Samaritans website, they are unsure as to why this social group is much more vulnerable to suicide. According to the Black Report, 1980 there are four types of explanations that might explain and demonstrate the differences in levels of illness and life expectancy experienced by different social classes.
1) The statistical artefact explanation
This explanation from the scholars working on the Black Report argued that the differences and inequalities in the levels of illness and life expectancy could be clarified by the circumstance that these numerical data (statistics) produced an unrepresentative and biased picture. It produced a biased image because within these lower social classes, there were more numbers of older people and people working in dangerous professions, meaning that it would be expected that they have higher levels of illness rather than younger people who are working in offices and other service industries. (Beryl Stretch, 2010). This explanation also argues that it is not down to social class but rather age and patterns of employment explain these pivotal differences.
2) Natural of social selection
This explanation argues that it is not low social class and the associated low wages, poverty and poorer housing that causes illness, higher infant mortality rates and lower life expectancy for adults- It is the other way round. (Beryl Stretch, 2010) It argues that people exist in the lower classes because of their poor health, lack of energy and absenteeism which is needed to thrive and excel.
3) Cultural or behavioural explanations
This explanation focuses on the lifestyle choices and behaviours of the lower classes. Studies and evidence portrayed that members of the lower classes were more likely to drink, smoke, eat more and do insufficient exercise. These combined were linked to bad health and illness overall and other chronic illnesses such as heart disease and some forms of cancer.
4) Structural explanations
This explanation argues that groups within society who have bad health and well-being than some other groups have such a shorter life expectancy than other social groups because of the unfair differences in prosperity and pay. This is what causes these differences.
Along with the Black Report, another report which explains these patterns and trends and looks at ways to overcome these inequalities is from the Acheson Report, 1997. This report was commissioned to review the latest information on inequalities in health and to identify priority areas for future policy development to reduce health inequalities. It outlined all the policies that need to be advanced in order to improve standards so that the levels of illness go down.
Within both the Black Report, 1980 and the Acheson Report in 1997, there was a steady emphasis on the need to challenge the social and economic determinants of health inequalities as well as a promise to hiring cross-cutting government policies to tackle health inequality. (Professor Clare Bambra, 2016). Apart from social class, there are a number of other factors that can explain patterns and trends in health and illness among different social groupings. One factor that can be used to explain patterns and trends in health and illness among different social groupings is gender.
When looking at suicide rates and gender, according to the Samaritans website, the highest suicide rate in the UK in 2014 was for men aged 45-49 at 26. 5 per 100,000. (Samaritans, Suicide Statistics Report 2016). When studying patterns and trends of suicide rates in men and women, the Samaritans Suicide Statistics Report stated that although the suicide rates for women were more than men, in 2014 the female rate for suicide increased more than men. There was a 2. 7% increase in decrease in the death rates for men and women in the UK between 2013 and 2014.
(Samaritans, Suicide Statistics Report 2016). When explaining infant mortality rates and gender, the infant mortality rate over the last twenty years has risen more in women than it has in men. Furthermore, when looking at gender, there are a lot more women who are in part time jobs as they have to look after the children and the home. Apart from social class and age, another factor in explaining patterns and trends in health and illness among different social groupings is by looking at ethnicity.
An individual’s ethnicity refers to their race and where they have come from. It can be quite hard to study the links and correlations between ethnicity and health and illness as people can recognise themselves as different races and it is furthermore difficult as people can recognise themselves as mixed race. Furthermore, there is a huge number of people from minority ethnic groups who live in parts of deficiency in inner city areas with poor housing, contamination and moderately great unemployment. (Beryl Stretch, 2010).
Therefore, it is unknown whether the poorer health is due to poverty or ethnicity. (Beryl Stretch, 2010) There are indications that there is a higher level of infants from the Asian sub-continent who have rickets, which is a condition which mainly arises in children where there are weak or soft bones, because of a deficiency of Vitamin D. (Beryl Stretch, 2010). Furthermore, black and smaller ethnic groups are described to have a shorter life expectancy and a poorer health than the overall population.
In addition, when it comes down to infant mortality rates most minority ethnic groups have higher levels. Furthermore, when studying trends and patterns of unemployment rates of men by ethnic, there is an outstanding percentage of Black Caribbean men who are unemployed in 2006, 15% to be exact. The second highest percentage of unemployed men in an ethnic group in 2006 came from Black African with 13%. The least was White British at 5%.
The reasons as to why the Black Caribbean ethnic group had such a high percentage of unemployment within the UK in 2006 was that studies have demonstrated that these minority ethnic groups are living in areas of great poverty and they are living in areas that are associated with deprived housing, pollution and comparatively great unemployment. (trends) Furthermore, another factor in explaining patterns and trends in health and illness among different social groupings is by looking at age. The standardised mortality rates decreased in 2016 by 3. 0% for females and 2.4% for males. (Statistics, n. d. ).
When looking at age and the trends and patterns in health and illness, we need to look at different age groups to get an idea of how they are perceived when it comes down to their health and illness. Many people who have retired and are over the threshold to become retired are fit and healthy and are still being a part of society and taking up voluntary work helping within the community. According to the 2001 census, it demonstrated that 342,032 people aged 65 and over provided 50 hours or more unpaid care per week.
(Beryl Stretch, 2010) When looking at the suicide rates per 100,000 it is believed to be understood from statistics from Samaritans that the highest suicide rate per 100,000 are all people within the age group of 45-49, 40-44 years for males and 50-54 years for females. (Samaritans, Samaritans statistics report 2017, 2017). When looking at the suicide rates in Wales by age group in 2015, the age group with the highest suicide rate per 100,000 are within the age group 30-34 for both males and females and 30-34 years for males.
(Samaritans, Samaritans statistics report 2017, 2017). The reason that this could be is that people within this age group may have very stressful jobs and family lives meaning that they are at more risk of taking their lives. In addition, when viewing mortality rates, age- standardised death rates decreased in 2016 by 3% for women and 2. 4% for males; parallel to the common trend prior to 2015. (Statistics, Deaths registered in England and Wales:2016, n. d.)
The reason as to why this pattern and trend has occurred could potentially be that the NHS has improved meaning that more people are now living longer with better health prospects. In conjunction with other trends, in England and Wales the number of deaths over the age of 65 has increased dramatically from 2014 to 2016. For example, the number of deaths for the age range of 65+ show a similar tend as the number of deaths have increased from 2014 to 2015, however have gone slightly down from 2015 to 2016.
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