- Published: November 22, 2022
- Updated: November 22, 2022
- Language: English
- Downloads: 34
As most individuals my know Canada is one of the richest countries in the world. If youwere to ask an individual from another country what they thought about Canada you wouldprobably hear for the most part that it was a clean county with low crime rates, verymulticultural, with good health care, high rates of job availability and the overall fact thatmany Canadians live a relatively pleasant and trouble free life (Mitchell, 2009). Although thesestatements may be true there are a significant number of Canadian families that are facing anumber of hardships and challenges within the country (Mitchell, 2009). These hardships andchallenge include but are not limited to, financial issues, unemployment, and chronic healthissues. These types’ private troubles are primarily related to the overall access of social andeconomic resources (Mitchell, 2009). As a result, these social and economic resources can varydepending on a few key factors that either allow full access to these resources or limit them. Some of these factors include but are not limited to: gender, ethnicity, social class, geographicallocation, income and education level (Mitchell, 2009). Thus, these factors would lead individualsin the lower economic class to conduct in unhealthy life styles that can be detrimental to thehealth from lack of these resources. Throughout this essay we will be exploring serious healthissues and how they are more likely to affect poorer families than those who are higher up in theSocioeconomic class (Mitchell, 2009). Throughout this paper, I will argue that poverty truly doeshave negative impacts on families and their overall physical and mental health. The outline forthis essay will be as followed: first we will discuss the social determinants of health to see whysome families are healthier than others, then we will look at selected chronic diseases and riskfactors that affect the family relationship, also personal reflections on this topic, and finally theconclusion.
What do we know
Before we can take a more in depth look at the social determinants of health we first haveto establish a definition of what it really means. The social determinants of health can be definedas: risk factors that are found in an individual’s living and working conditions rather thanindividual risk factors (like genetics or behavioural risk factors), that can influence the overallrisk for disease, personal injury or can make an individual more susceptible to injury or disease. These economic and social conditions are governed and shaped by political, social and economicstructures (Raphael, 2004). As a result, these factors contribute to both the overall health andexisting health inequalities among Canadians. Although definitions of determinants of health candiffer due to factors like, the differences in health between population groups as a result of thecharacteristics within a given society and not due to differences in health care. Dr. DennisRaphael (a professor of Health Policy and Management at York University) and Juha Mikkonen(vice-president of the European Anti-Poverty Network Finland) came up with 11 key socialdeterminants of health in relation to Canadian health in there book entitled ” Social Determinantsof Health: The Canadian Facts”. These social determinants are as followed: Income anddistribution, Education, Unemployment and Job Security, Employment and Working Conditions, Early Childhood Development, Food Security, Housing, Social Exclusion, Social Safety Net, Health Services, and Aboriginal status (Mikkonen and Raphael, 2010). These social determinates are most likely to be observed in lower incomeneighbourhoods around Toronto like Jane and Finch, Malvern, Galloway and so on because theoverall living conditions within these areas are very low. People within these areas tend to beless educated and tend to be less healthy than individuals who are more educated due to factors: like the high cost of fruits and vegetables at grocery stores compared to cheap meals at fast foodrestaurants like Burger King, Mc Donald’s and Wendy’s. They also tend to be lest active due tohigh prices of gym memberships and there low salary at minimal wage paying jobs in which theyhave. When individuals in lower income are employed in these low minimal wage paying jobsthey are more vulnerable to adverse working conditions like: high levels of physical conditions atwork, fast work pace and stress, long working hours, and minimal opportunities for self-expression and individual development at work (Mikkonen and Raphael, 2010). For theindividuals within these communities that do not have jobs due to lack of education or criminalcharges, it can lead to stress, social and material deprivation and adopting unhealthy copingmechanism like alcohol and drugs(Mikkonen and Raphael, 2010). For children who grow up inthese areas who bear witness to these high levels of stress, deprivations, and crime that goes onwithin their communities it can have a very negative impact on them. For example, it can lead tostrong long lasting biological, psychological and social effects on their health (Mikkonen andRaphael, 2010). This can also be attributed to the high levels of single parent householdpredominantly ran by mothers who have to work more than one job just to survive. Because ofthe big gap between rich and poor Canadians, individuals in low income areas tend to be moresusceptible to social exclusion (Mitchell, 2009). Individuals like minorities, woman and peoplewith disabilities are more likely to be marginalized and limited to their access of resources(Mikkonen and Raphael, 2010). Therefore their social safety net which involves the range ofbenefits, programs, and supports that protect citizens during various life changes that affect theirhealth tend to be less (Mikkonen and Raphael, 2010). It is also important to note that on averageindividuals from higher economic communities tend to live longer than individuals from lowereconomic communities and are more prone to chronic diseases like arthritis, diabetes, and mentalillnesses because of all of these disadvantages (Mitchell, 2009).
Diabetes is on the rise in Canada more than ever before, from 2008-2009 there wereapproximately 2. 4 million Canadians living with diabetes, this has now risen to over 3 million(Pilkington & Daiski1, 2011). Although the prevalence of diabetes increases with age there weremore than 50% (in 2008-2009) that were diagnosed with diabetes that were of working agebetween 25 to 64 years of age (Pilkington & Daiski1, 2011). The 4 types of diabetes that affectCanadians are: Prediabetes (an individual’s blood glucose levels are higher than normal), Gestational Diabetes (a temporary condition that occurs through pregnancy) this from of diabetesis known to be twice as high in aboriginal communities compared to other societies (Palda &Frig, 2002), Type 1 Diabetes (approximately 10% of people with diabetes have type 1 diabetes)and finally type 2 diabetes (the remaining 90% of individuals have type 2 diabetes) (Pilkington &Daiski1, 2011). Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and some of the riskfactors for this disease include: being a member of a high risk group (Aboriginal, Hispanic, Asian, South Asian, and African decent) or if individuals are overweight and carrying most ofthe weight in their belly (Pilkington & Daiski1, 2011). If diabetes is left unattended it can lead toserious complications like: Heart, Eye, and Kidney Disease, erectile dysfunction and nervedamage (Pilkington & Daiski1, 2011). Pilkington & Daiski1 have found that type 2 diabetes is strongly associated with lowsocial economic status (Pilkington & Daiski1, 2011). In low income areas diabetes is 4 timeshigher compared to higher income areas (Gucciardi, Vogt, DeMelo & Stewart, 2009). They alsofound, in areas of poverty diabetes and its complications were significantly increased due to lackresources, healthy nutrition, and exercise facilities (Gucciardi, Vogt, DeMelo & Stewart, 2009). This can also be attributed to the low levels of grocery stores and high levels of fast foodrestaurants within Toronto’s poorest parts of the city as displayed in the map of Toronto’s FoodDeserts (MacNeill, 2012). Cost for treatments, medicine, and supplies to monitor and controldiabetes can cost an individual as high as $15, 000 per year (Pilkington & Daiski1, 2011). Withhouseholds of 1-2 individuals living in poverty, Pilkington & Daiski1 found that there annualincome was less than $15, 000 per year. For households of 3-4 individuals they found that thereannual salary was less than $30, 000 per year (Pilkington & Daiski1, 2011). With these lowlevels of income and high levels of cost it would virtually be impossible for low incomeindividuals suffering from diabetes to cover these cost due to lack of health insurance at theirminimum wage jobs for full-time and part-time employees (Pilkington & Daiski1, 2011). Forpoor individuals with diabetes who have shift work, contract work, and part-time positions, theywill not take time off to treat there diabetes for fear of losing their job. Also because their jobsare insecure these individuals tend to not take breaks to eat or check their glucose levels so thatthey can receive the full amount of pay for the hours they worked (Pilkington & Daiski1, 2011). Just like diabetes, mental health is also a leading cause of poverty for individuals in lowsocioeconomic classes. It is believed that one out of five Ontarians will experience some form ofmental illness within a given year experience. When faced with difficult situations like divorce, adeath in the family, or loss of employment, it can make any individual develop some type ofmental illness like depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. For individuals who are poor andalready suffering from mental illness loss of stabilizing resources, such as income, employment, and housing, for an extended period of time can increase the overall risk factors for developingmental illness. Mental health can also be developed by children living in poverty. Studies have shownthat growing up in poverty can have negative effects children’s mental health. ” Neuroscientistshave found that high levels of children growing up in very poor family’s with low social statusexperience unhealthy levels of stress hormones, which impair their neural development”(Evans, 2009). ” Chronic stress from growing up in poverty has a physiological impact on children’sbrains, impairing their working memory and diminishing their ability to develop language, reading, and problem-solving skills, according to a study conducted by professor GaryEvans”(Evans, 2009). His study is one of the first to look at cognitive responses to physiologicalstress in children who live in poverty (Evans, 2009). Evans also notes that ” there is evidence thatlow-income families are under tremendous amounts of stress and that stress has manyimplications, but what these data raise is the possibility that stress is also related to cognitivedevelopment”(Evans, 2009).
Discussion and Conclusion
As you may see, poverty can definitely lead to serious health issues. It is unsettling toknow that individuals are not being given the proper amount of health care that they need due tolack of health care benefits at places of employment. In my opinion there needs to be rulesimplement that makes the company liable to covers health cost no matter if employed fulltime, seasonal, or part time. If an individual is laid off the company should have to cover their healthcost until they are able to obtain another job. Also there needs to be more groceries stores withinlow social economic communities with prices that are affordable to these individuals. At fastfood restaurants there should be a health warning on each item purchased notifying individualswhat will happen if these types of food are continued to be eaten on a daily basis. There alsoneeds to be more health information displayed in schools, groceries store, and any other publicareas display the risk factors of diabetes and mental health and ways to prevent them. Finallyhaving more government support will give these residences the confidence they need to be ableto succeed throughout life. In conclusion, in this paper I argued that poverty does have negative impacts on familiesand their overall physical and mental health by displaying the social determinants of health to seewhy some families are healthier than other. I also went into more depth and displayed some ofthe chronic diseases like diabetes and mental health and key factors to these diseases that affectthe family. Individuals who live in poverty are at a higher risk for anxiety, depression, substanceuse and more. This can be attributed to lack of social determinants as displayed by Mikkonenand Raphael which inturn can lead to mental health problem or lack of medical assistance. Inorder for change, we as a society need to force the government to implement change in order forall Canadian’s regardless of race, gender, culture, creed, and class to receive proper healthcare.
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