• 07 Pages
  • Published On: 20-11-2023

Socio-economic condition or social class of a person determines his or her quality of life throughout the lifespan. Several social-economic factors influence the health and wellbeing of people by influencing how people would live their life. These socio-economic factors are education, income level, living standard, culture, eating habits, society and family environment, social perception, regular habits and financial stability of person. This essay aims to present how the changing socio-economic condition or social condition of people in the UK impacts on their health and wellbeing. The essay is going to make an evidence-based discussion on whether the ability of people to be healthy and fit both mentally and physically changes according to their different socio-economic classes. Through using useful evidence, the essay will discuss why people belonging to the lower socioeconomic class in the UK are more vulnerable to poor health and chronic diseases as compared their rich peers having strong financial status.


The evidence-based report has suggested that health is influenced by the number of socio-economic factors such as lifestyle, income, education, employment, health services, housing and culture (Ahmadi et al. 2019). Pieces of evidence have mentioned that there is a strong relationship between the pay structure of people residing in the UK and their health and well-being. It is evident from the recent report of Office of National Statistics (ONS) that people with lower monetary status suffer from unemployment, poor living standard, poor quality of life, work shakiness and lack of professional training. On the other hand, people residing in the poor socio-economic class are dependent on low-quality food that are lack in essential nutrients as well as proteins but enriched with water-soluble fats that make these people more likely to be prevalent to chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and pulmonary disease. As mentioned by Cookson et al. (2016), socio-economic class controls as well as determines the ability of people to afford the facilities and needs that are important to have positive mental and physical health such as regular gym activities, healthy and nutrients foods, positive housing environment and good quality of life. Recent ONS report has shown that the survey” Adult Health in Great Britain" during 2012 represented the fact that more than 17% of people residing in the lowest socio-economic class in the England and Wales are more vulnerable to Long-standing Illness (LSI) as compared to the only 9% of the unemployed people belonging to the higher socio-economic class [www.ons.gov.uk, 2019]. The survey also has shown that people with the low monetary status are addicted to poor habits such as smoking, alcoholism and drug addiction that enhance their vulnerability to lethal; diseases such as pancreatitis, lung cancer and cardiovascular disease. In this context, Delgado-Angulo et al. (2019) argued that, although there are pieces of evidence that establish a strong relationship between the pay structure of people in the UK and their health, it is also evident from recent healthcare scenarios in the UK, which show that majority of people from high-class society suffers from obesity, overweight and diabetes that enhance their vulnerability towards premature death and morbidity. On supporting the viewpoint many studies have mentioned that many people are belonging to high social class have a high risk of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, lung cancer and respiratory illness. A recent report from the World Health Organisation [WHO] has shown that, in the UK, 1 in 4 children suffers from obesity and overweight and most of them belong to high-income families [WHO, 2019]. The reason behind the prevalence of people of high-income societies to chorionic illness is considered as their irregular and lavish lifestyle, lack of parental care, unhealthy eating habits, excessive consumption of junk food and irregular sleeping pattern.

As mentioned by Goodwin et al. (2018), although there are criticisms regarding the vulnerability of people with lower monetary status to premature death and morbidity, it needs to be acknowledged that socio-economic standard of people acts as the potential parameter of determining their ability to lead a healthy lifestyle that is important for having positive mental and physical wellbeing. Office of National Statics (ONS) highlights the Index of Multiple Deprivation data in which it is evident that socio-economic class in England determines the quality of healthcare facilities that people receive from the GP, health and nursing professional in NHS hospitals. The report has shown that people who reside in the most deprived class in England experience poor healthcare facilities as compared to people who belong to the least deprived societies. From the NHS and Index of Multiple Deprivation data, it is seen that during 2017/18, more than 14.5% of people live in the below poverty line in England receive worst healthcare experience such as long waiting for GP appointments, unprofessional behaviour of NHS staffs and ill-treatment from doctors and health staffs as compared to only 12% of people residing in the least deprived societies who experiences these events (www.england.nhs.uk, 2019). As argued by Delgado-Angulo et al. (2019), the poor healthcare experiences that people with lower monetary status have in NHS hospitals are not always related to the socio-economic class and income level of these people rather other factors enhance the health inequalities in society such as poor healthcare infrastructure in NHS hospitals, lack of modern healthcare process, poor medical equipment and lack of economic resources to use ultra-modern medical equipment. The ONS report has shown that there are more than 394 admissions in the emergency ward of NHS hospitals from the poor communities in England as compared to only 134 emergency admission from the least deprived societies [www.england.nhs.uk, 2019].

As mentioned by Nazroo (2017), people with lower income level are unable to afford healthy and nutritious foods for their family, which leads them to have low quality and cheap food that is enriched with harmful fats. A report from the World Health organisation has shown that people who are lack of proper income and employment use to skip meals, have insufficient sleep and develop poor habits such as drugs and alcohol consumption. Laci of employment, housing and income in the deprived classes in the UK makes people more vulnerable to different mental illness such as dementia, depression, anxiety, hallucination, arrogance, negative and weird behaviours as compared to people with the strong socio-economic condition. As argued by Newman and Gowland (2017), not only people from poor society in the UK but also there are many pieces of evidence in which people belonging to the rich societies in England and wales are the common sufferer of depression, dementia and negative behaviours. On the other had evidence-based reports have shown that the UK is reported to have unfair differences as well as gaps in the health status of people residing in different groups and communities. The gap is wider in England and Wales between people of most deprived and least deprived communities. The WHO mentioned in its report that, in England, there is a strong relationship between life expectancy ad deprivation in which males belonging to least deprived societies can have a life expectancy of 9.4 years more than that of the males residing in the least deprived and more communities. In the case of female, the life expectancy gaps between the most and least deprived communities in England is 7.4 years. As mentioned by Øversveen et al. (2017), deprivation act as the facilitator in increasing the likelihood of having several long-term illnesses [LTI] in people. Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey in the UK has shown that people residing in the deprived ethnic community are more prevalent to different chronic and lethal disease such as diabetes, respiratory issues, COPD, arthritis, lung cancer, CVD and coronary arterial disease. The survey has shown that people residing in poor ethnic communities in England are more likely to suffer from psychotic illness, in which 1.3% Asians and 3.4% African are highly vulnerable to dementia and depression as compared only 1.3% of white UK born people who live in rich societies [(www.england.nhs.uk, 2019]. The reason behind the health inequalities is that people residing in poor communities in the UK are devoid of proper employment, income, housing and quality healthcare facilities that make them unable to live a healthy life.

In recent years the UK government has taken poverty reduction initiatives which are expected to improve the socio-economic status of people by providing them useful opportunities for their education, skill and professions development. Through conducting professional training and education for people residing in the deprived communities UK government intend to improve the professional skill and career-oriented knowledge of people that will assist them to grab good career opportunities (Ravaghi et al. 2020). In addition to this, the UK government has taken initiatives to enhance the employment opportunities for people with low monetary status to elevate the standard of their living. Through conducting health promotion program and health education programs, Pubic Health England assists people in poor communities to develop proper health literacy that will allow them to manage their health and wellbeing systemically.

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From the overall discussion, it can be concluded that socio-economic class in society act as the strong parameter that measures the ability of people to have a healthy and quality living standard. Many socioeconomic factors impact on health of people such as education, income level, occupation, employment, housing and eating habits and lifestyle. It has been evident that people residing in the poor socio-economic class are more likely to suffer from LTI than their rich peers living in a higher socio-economic class. Therefore, for improving health and wellbeing of people belonging to poor societies it is not sufficient to provide only good healthcare facilities and health education, rather they also need proper employment and career opportunities that will elevate their financial standard.

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Reference list

Ahmadi, O., Machuca, C. and Sabbah, W., 2019. Socioeconomic inequality in the provision of health advice in dental setting in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Patient education and counseling, 102(11), pp.2068-2072.

Bann, D., Johnson, W., Li, L., Kuh, D. and Hardy, R., 2017. Socioeconomic inequalities in body mass index across adulthood: coordinated analyses of individual participant data from three British birth cohort studies initiated in 1946, 1958 and 1970. PLoS medicine, 14(1), p.e1002214.

Bann, D., Johnson, W., Li, L., Kuh, D. and Hardy, R., 2018. Socioeconomic inequalities in childhood and adolescent body-mass index, weight, and height from 1953 to 2015: an analysis of four longitudinal, observational, British birth cohort studies. The Lancet Public Health, 3(4), pp.e194-e203.

Cookson, R., Propper, C., Asaria, M. and Raine, R., 2016. Socio‐economic inequalities in health care in England. Fiscal Studies, 37(3-4), pp.371-403.

Delgado-Angulo, E.K., Mangal, M. and Bernabé, E., 2019. Socioeconomic inequalities in adult oral health across different ethnic groups in England. Health and quality of life outcomes, 17(1), p.85.

Goodwin, L., Gazard, B., Aschan, L., MacCrimmon, S., Hotopf, M. and Hatch, S.L., 2018. Taking an intersectional approach to define latent classes of socioeconomic status, ethnicity and migration status for psychiatric epidemiological research. Epidemiology and psychiatric sciences, 27(6), pp.589-600.

Mears, M., Brindley, P., Maheswaran, R. and Jorgensen, A., 2019. Understanding the socioeconomic equity of publicly accessible greenspace distribution: The example of Sheffield, UK. Geoforum, 103, pp.126-137.

Nazroo, J., 2017. Class and health inequality in later life: patterns, mechanisms and implications for policy. International journal of environmental research and public health, 14(12), p.1533.

Newman, S.L. and Gowland, R.L., 2017. Dedicated followers of fashion? Bioarchaeological perspectives on socio‐economic status, inequality, and health in urban children from the industrial revolution (18th–19th C), England. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, 27(2), pp.217-229.

Øversveen, E., Rydland, H.T., Bambra, C. and Eikemo, T.A., 2017. Rethinking the relationship between socio-economic status and health: Making the case for sociological theory in health inequality research. Scandinavian journal of public health, 45(2), pp.103-112.

Ravaghi, V., Hargreaves, D.S. and Morris, A.J., 2020. Persistent socioeconomic inequality in child dental caries in England despite equal attendance. JDR Clinical & Translational Research, 5(2), pp.185-194.

Riley, M., 2020. Health inequality and COVID-19: the culmination of two centuries of social murder. British Journal of General Practice, 70(697), pp.397-397.

www.poverty.ac.uk, (2019), Health inequalities in the England: Available in <:https://www.poverty.ac.uk/editorial/health-inequalities-england:> [Accessed on 2019]

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