Determinants of Health

Although inequalities in income and education underlie many health  disparities, the poor are sometimes held responsible for their health  status. For instance, Dr. Ichiro Kawachi, a Harvard University professor  and social epidemiologist, reports that the ability to avoid negative  health behaviors like smoking and eating unhealthy foods depends on  access to “income, education, and the social determinants of health.” On  the basis of your knowledge of the health of the poor, answer the  following questions:

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  • Should the poor be held responsible for their health disparities? Why or why not?
  • What are some common stereotypes of the poor? How do these  stereotypes contribute to the poor being held responsible for their  health status?
  • What conditions in your community promote or hinder healthy choices?
  • In addition to the above, consider the input that research on women  has lagged behind research on men. Many health treatments that address  health risks for women are based on research conducted on men. With  reference to your understanding of the healthcare system, mention the  factors that determine whether the health treatments based on research  on men will be successful with women.

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