Understanding Patterns and Trends in Health and Illness Among Different Social Groupings

2209 Words Jul 13th, 2013 9 Pages
Understanding patterns and trends in health and illness among different social groupings

Measuring health

Statistics regarding health and illness levels are generated by three main groups. These groups are:

* Government: These provide a wide range of current statistics; The Office of National Statistics provides this. They have a hard and electrical copy of such things as GP appointments from surgeries, infant mortality rates, hospital admissions, suicide rates and many other statistics. They analyse this data by age, social class, gender and location of where the data is from and often make a comparison and study if there is a trend. * Academic researchers and other authors: Often from a university, people research contributing
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Another difficulty for measuring health is that the reasons for death which are stated on a death certificate may not be true. As with the illnesses, doctors may not but the ‘real’ cause of death and may just put a ‘sugar coated’ version to avoid causing further distress to the family and friends of the deceased. An example of this could be a homeless person living on the street, the cause of death according to the death certificate could be hypothermia but the doctors may not take in to consideration that it could have been years of substance abuse, malnutrition and the lack of shelter or none at all. As well as this a doctor may interpret the cause of death from symptoms they find; this could only be only one of the reasons they put down but the ‘real’ cause could have been many.

Social class and patterns of health and illness

Although statistics have to be approached with an open mind, evidence has been released which shows overwhelmingly that good health and life-expectancy is dictated by social class, with the lower classes being subject to poorer health and lower life expectancy. In 1980 The Black Report followed by the Acheson Report in 1998 are the most influential reports on this topic. In each report they provide an in-depth explanation of the relationship between the various social and the environmental matters regarding