At Risk vs. Vulnerable Populations

1196 Words Feb 10th, 2014 5 Pages
What is the difference between a group "at risk" for poor health and a group considered a "vulnerable" population? Provide an example of a group at risk and a group considered a vulnerable population.
Explain why members of these groups cannot advocate for themselves or why advocating for these groups would be beneficial.
What would you advocate for?

The notion of groups “at risk” for poor health differs from vulnerable populations. “A population at risk is a population with a common identified risk factor or risk exposure that poses a threat to health (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2014, p. 189). For example, a population at risk for cardiovascular disease consists of all adults who are overweight and hypertensive (Stanhope &
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375). For example, a person with a chronic condition such as cancer or heart disease may already have difficulty managing his/her condition and have less physical ability to cope with stress than someone without such condition. He or she may also be at risk or have other comorbidities, with each affecting the other. Moreover, resilience may be further decreased by their marginalized or disenfranchised status. They may be unable to maintain a full-time job, therefore, have inadequate salary and live at or below poverty level. This, in turn, “has an impact on his or her ability to secure adequate and/or safe housing, essential health care, and pharmacological services” (Lundy & Janes, 2009, p. 616). Therefore, vulnerability results from the combined effects of limited resources, which create a more hazardous situation (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2014b).
Living in an environment with limited resources affects vulnerability in many ways. For example, those who are poor are continually faced with multiple risk factors that cause chronic stress, such as unsafe housing, repeated exposure to violence/crime, barriers to health care access (i.e. lack of insurance, lack of transportation, language barriers), and other limitations. Therefore, it is not unusual for an individual or community that is constantly bombarded by stressful situations to become immobilized. “In other words, they do not have the ability to effectively respond to even the

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