The Impact of Socio-Economic Status on Health Management in the UK

  • 09 Pages
  • Published On: 21-11-2023

Health is referred to the state of well-being of a person physically, emotionally and mentally and not includes just the lack of disease in the body. There are different factors which influence the management of health of an individual such a physical, emotional, socio-economic, spiritual and others. In this essay, the way socio-economic condition influences the management of health of individuals in the UK is to be discussed with showcasing examples.

The socio-economic status is referred to the position of an individual in the society on the basis of economic scale and social factors such as education, income, wealth, place of living, community security, employment, gender inequality and others (Øversveen et al., 2017). The socio-economic factors are seen to influence health of individuals because they affect the ability of the individuals to make healthy choices, access medical care, managing housing and others which are related to basic health management of individuals (Brasher et al., 2017).

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One of the initial socio-economic condition that influences health of the people in the UK is their level of income. As mentioned by Blattman and Dercon (2018), presence of high income in the families leads the individual to arrange adequate healthy resources for their well-being. This is because the individuals have adequate economic ability to purchase and maintain healthy diet which in turn creates positive impact on their health. As argued by Lahtinen et al. (2017), people with low-income are found to face hardship in spending increased amount of money on healthy foods which are higher in price compared to fast foods. This is because they otherwise would not be able to manage proper living if most of the money to spend having healthy diet which is costlier. For example, in the UK, obesity which is caused by intake of unhealthy and fatty foods as one of the risk factors is seen to high in low-income families compared to high-income individuals. This is evident as it is mentioned that 33% of the adults are found to be obese who earn less than 11,500 pounds each year in the UK compared to 24.6% of the people are found to be obese who earns nearly 39,000 pounds each year (thisislocallondon.co.uk, 2019). It mainly occurs as a result of the inability of the low-income families in investing high finances to purchase healthy fruits and vegetables which is costlier. This is evident as in 2019 it is mentioned that £9.39 per 1,000 calories are to be spent by a family for fruits and vegetables whereas £3.54 per 1,000 calories is to be spent for availing fast food and sugary drinks (Butler, 2020). Thus, it is found that low-income families spend more on availing fast foods which are cheaper in price but harmful towards causing them obesity out of their lower-income ability to purchase healthy foods.

The presence of adequate education among the people is one of the social factors which is considered to influence health of people in the UK. As asserted by Davies et al. (2018), higher education level among the people is seen to cause them experience increased positive outcome related to their health. This is because educated people are found to have effective understanding of the causes and risk factors of common health issues along with having ideas about the stigma and misconceptions to be avoided to attain enhanced healthcare for health complications. As argued by Davies et al. (2019), people with less or no education are found to lack concept and understanding regarding the health complication and reason of their occurrence. This leads the individuals to develop inappropriate concepts and spread stigma in the society causing the person suffering health complication to remain devoid of appropriate healthcare. For example, in the South Asian Communities in the UK, who are mainly minority in the country are seen to show increased resistance on accessing care for mental health issues and suffer hindered health condition compared to the white communities. This is because of the lack of presence of adequate education among the people in the South Asian communities in the UK compared to White individuals which led the develop wrong concepts of mental health and consider it to be a shameful disease for the family for which they avoid accessing care and suffer negative health consequence out of lack of care (time-to-change.org.uk, 2019).

The social status of people remaining unemployed leads to adversely affect their health and make them develop addiction towards substance abuse. This is because unemployment leads the people to feel frustrated, stress and depressed of their life which makes them to involve in substance abuse to overcome the emotions (Lee et al., 2017). It is evident as nicotine present in the smoke is seen to cause a relaxing impact on the body which help the individuals to temporary overcome stress and anxiety caused by unemployment (NHS, 2018). For example in the UK, 29% of the adults who are unemployed are found to involve in smoking compare to 15% of adults who are employed (NHS, 2018). This indicates that unemployment social status influences the mental health of the people in the UK to get involved in smoking as substance abuse. The involvement in smoking tobacco is harmful for the health of the individuals as it leads them to develop various health issues such as lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) and others (NHS, 2018).

In the UK, it seems that women are less likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease compared to me at an early stage. The study by Bots et al. (2017), mentions that the exact reason behind the gender inequality in the society regarding cardiovascular disease is unknown. However, it is considered that naturally occurring hormone level in the women before menopause act to make them at less risk toward suffering heart disease. In contrast Colijn et al. (2017), the study by mentions that men are more prone compared to women to develop cardiovascular disease as they are involved in strenuous working activities and often involved in stress related to work which increases their risk regarding the disease. It is evident as reports mention that in the UK, 6% men and 3% women suffering from ischemic heart diseases and 3% men and 2% women suffer from stroke (healthsurvey.hscic.gov.uk, 2017). Moreover, cardiovascular disease among the people in low-income families is found to be high in the UK compared to people in high-income families. This is evident as 22% of the adults in low-income families is found to be suffering from cardiovascular disease in the UK compared to 16% individuals suffering from the disease in the UK (healthsurvey.hscic.gov.uk, 2017). The income influence presence of cardiovascular disease among communities because people with lower income are found to be at increased stress and depression in their life which are vital factors that influences development of heart disease over time (healthsurvey.hscic.gov.uk, 2017). Moreover, people with higher income efficiency are seen to be able to maintain healthy lifestyle along with have enhanced mental health leading them to lack vital risk factors for the development of cardiovascular disease (healthsurvey.hscic.gov.uk, 2017).

In the UK, despite living in midst of plenty it is seen that infant malnourishment and malnutrition is one of the key health issues faced by people living in poor household setting and have low income. It is evident as nearly 4 million children in the UK are found to be facing risk of malnutrition and they belong to the poor social class. According to reports, 1 in 5 families in the UK require to spend 40% of the income after housing cost to be able to meet nutritional guidelines mentioned by the government. This is 4 times the richest 20% of the families in the UK to be able to spend in having nutritional food as per government guidelines (Westwater, 2018). The Food Foundation in the UK mentioned that 3.7 million children in the UK is considered to belong from families who earn lower than £15,860 yearly. Therefore, they are unable to bear the increased cost to be required in meeting the nutritional guidelines by the government (Westwater, 2018). Thus, the inequality in income accompanied by poverty as social issue is raising issues of malnutrition for the poor people.

The respiratory diseases create a major impact on the life expectancy of the people belong from the rich and poor background. In the UK, it is reported that respiratory diseases are 7 times higher among people from the socio-economically deprived areas in England compared to least deprived areas (Stewart, 2019). One of the reasons behind high respiratory diseases among the poor in the UK is the presence of poor housing condition. This is evident as poor people in the deprived areas in the UK are found live in confined places which leads them to fail in having fresh air, in turn, disrupting their health (Gov, 2019). Moreover, the poor individuals in the UK are seem to be involved in hazardous activities for work purpose such as mining and others which makes them be at risk of facing respiratory health issues. This is because the harmful particles such as silicon and other cause respiratory issues among them (Gov, 2019).

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The above discussion mentions that socio-economic issues such as income inequality influences the people in the UK to be at risk of developing obesity, malnutrition, cardiovascular diseases and others. This is because the adequate resources required to prevent the diseases are unable to be arranged within the limited income by the poor families. Moreover, the people of the poor social class in the UK are at increased risk of facing substance abuse along with respiratory disorder compared to the rich.

References
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  • Bots, S.H., Peters, S.A. and Woodward, M., 2017. Sex differences in coronary heart disease and stroke mortality: a global assessment of the effect of ageing between 1980 and 2010. BMJ global health, 2(2).pp.34-56.
  • Brasher, M.S., George, L.K., Shi, X., Yin, Z. and Zeng, Y., 2017. Incorporating biomarkers into the study of socio-economic status and health among older adults in China. SSM-population health, 3, pp.577-585.
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  • Colijn, J.M., Buitendijk, G.H., Prokofyeva, E., Alves, D., Cachulo, M.L., Khawaja, A.P., Cougnard-Gregoire, A., Merle, B.M., Korb, C., Erke, M.G. and Bron, A., 2017. Prevalence of age-related macular degeneration in Europe: the past and the future. Ophthalmology, 124(12), pp.1753-1763.
  • Davies, N.M., Dickson, M., Smith, G.D., Van Den Berg, G.J. and Windmeijer, F., 2018. The causal effects of education on health outcomes in the UK Biobank. Nature human behaviour, 2(2), pp.117-125.
  • Davies, N.M., Hill, W.D., Anderson, E.L., Sanderson, E., Deary, I.J. and Smith, G.D., 2019. Multivariable two-sample Mendelian randomization estimates of the effects of intelligence and education on health. Elife, 8, p.e43990.
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