Social And Political Determinants Of Health Essay


Discuss about the Social and Political Determinants of Health.


This assignment demonstrates the social and the political determinants of health in relation to social gradient in health in the two suburbs of Adelaide. It explains the social and the conceptual model of the determinants of health. It also focuses on the key social determinants of health and the health inequalities. Australia is such a place where the health of the people can be clearly differentiated according to the different places of the continent. The government of Australia helps in promoting the healthier communities. It also helps in promoting healthy environments which can help in preventing the chronic diseases such as obesity, chronic heart disease, cancer and mental disability.

Dahlgren and Whitehead (1991) have explained the social ecological theory to health which focuses on the relationship between individuals, environment and health diseases. The first layer is the personal behavior and ways of living that can help in the promotion or cause damage to the health condition. The second layer is the influences in the community and the society which help in providing proper support to the individuals residing in the community when the conditions are not favorable. The third layer consists of structural factors that include appropriate housing facilities, working conditions proper access to services and the provision of important facilities (Public Health Information and Development Unit, 2014).

The conceptual model of health involves several layers. The first layer includes the age, sex and the lifestyle factors. The second layer includes social and community networks. The third layer consists of the living and the working conditions including agriculture and the production of food, work environment, lack of employment opportunities, water and sanitation facilities and health care services. There is a social gradient according to statistical data in the local area in South Australia. The lowest percentage of individuals rate the condition of their health as poor or fair reside in the relatively advantaged council area of the Adelaide Hills, whereas the highest portion of individuals live in a relatively disadvantaged area such as Playford (Dahlgren & Whitehead,1991) .

The social determinants of health refer to the conditions in which the individuals are born, grow, work to improve their lifestyle and deal with several health issues. They are mainly responsible for health inequities that refer to the avoidable differences in the health status within and between different countries (Batterham, et al., 2016). Employment plays an important role in leading to health inequality in Playford, South Australia as it a higher disadvantaged area. There are several theories that work in accordance to the social determinants of health such as psychosocial, materialistic and neo-materialistic theory. The psychosocial theory demonstrates the effect on the health and well being of individuals when they compare themselves to others. The materialistic framework focuses on the relationship between the living conditions and the health effects and the neo materialistic aspect analyzes these living conditions (Hatzenbuehler, Phelan & Link, 2013). In the Adelaide hills the health issues are less as compared to the Playford. In Playford, due to the unemployment, low income of the family, and a large number of school leaving children, the health rate of the people are low. Whereas the Adelaide hills, the employment rate is high which helps in high income rates and most of the children can study in schools.

Health inequities refer to the discrimination in the provision of health care services in between different groups of population. According to the reports of The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report of the year 2014, 56% of Australians had a good health status but 50% of the population suffered from at least one chronic disease (Newman et al., 2014). The social determinants of health are the situation in which people used to live from birth till death and these situations are unavoidable. The term SDHI is used to denote social norms, structures and determinants of social health. The conceptualization of the social determinants of health can be determined in two steps:

  • By viewing the inequalities of health
  • By extending the views about the health inequalities for including the complexity science.

According to the reports of Public Health Information and Development Unit (2015), the rate of avoidable mortality is around 86 % higher in the disadvantaged areas as compared to least disadvantaged areas. It is important to promote equity in health care and it can be done by facilitating and promoting the development of proper social networks especially in areas that are deprived of basic health care facilities (P?lsd?ttir et al., 2016). There are three pathways that are being advanced for explaining the health inequalities.

  1. Social selection is the pathway which determines the socio- economic position of the health of a person. Thus the persons with better health is at better socioeconomics positions as compared to the less healthier people and this leads to the inequalities.
  2. Social causation states that the unequal spread of the healthcare material, the behavioral and the psycho-social factors gives to the rise of inequalities in the health.
  3. Life course perspective states that the various factors over the life span are used to determine the diseases observed over the time. The ecosocial approach of the diseases trends over the observed time.

There are behavioral and cultural differences in the Adelaide hills and Playford, which is gradually leading to the lowering of socioeconomic status and negative cultures. This differentiation in culture is lowering the status of health of the people (Parry & Grant, 2016). It is also important to promote and encourage community development programs to prevent individuals from different health issues and struggling from unemployment. There should be the allocation of proper health care resources according to the requirements of individuals by giving special focus in order to secure the economic, geographic and cultural access to them.

Some issue of health in Australia is premature death that death before the age of 75. Australian bureau of statistics recorded that premature rates at Playford is higher (347.8/ 100,000 persons) that the Adelaide Hills (259.1). Thus it can be concluded that the health inequities in areas having low socio economic status in South Australia such as Playford and Adelaide hills can be reduced by proper management and intervention of health issues. It is crucial to work in collaborative partnerships with private as well as governmental agencies to implement several types of supportive programs. It is important to increase the awareness and understanding of mental and physical health issues in the community and provision of proper resources to reduce the differences in the health status of Playford and Adelaide hills.


Batterham, R. W., Hawkins, M., Collins, P. A., Buchbinder, R., & Osborne, R. H. (2016). Health literacy: applying current concepts to improve health services and reduce health inequalities. Public Health, 132, 3-12.

Dahlgren, G., & Whitehead, M. (1991) Understanding the different policy levels of an equity oriented policy in Dahlgren, G., & Whitehead, M. (1991) Policies and Strategies to Promote social equity in health. Background document to WHO – Strategy paper to Europe (pp 11-13). Stockholm, Swedent: Institute for Future Studies

Hatzenbuehler, M. L., Phelan, J. C., & Link, B. G. (2013). Stigma as a fundamental cause of population health inequalities. American journal of public health, 103(5), 813-821.

Newman, L., Baum, F., Javanparast, S., O'Rourke, K., & Carlon, L. (2015). Addressing social determinants of health inequities through settings: a rapid review. Health Promotion International, 30(suppl_2), ii126-ii143.

Newman, L., Javanparast, S., Baum, F., & Hutchinson, C. (2014). Evidence Review; Settings for Addressing the Social Determinants of Health Inequities. Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity, Victorian Health Promotion Association, Melbourne, Vic., Australia.

P?lsd?ttir, B., Barry, J., Bruno, A., Barr, H., Clithero, A., Cobb, N., ... & Strasser, R. (2016). Training for impact: the socio-economic impact of a fit for purpose health workforce on communities. Human resources for health, 14(1), 49.

Parry, Y., & Grant, J. (2016). Communities for Children Final Report: The use of Communities for Children programs to improve the Social Determinants of health outcomes in Western Adelaide.

Public Health Information and Development Unit (2014) Social Health Atlas of Australia: South Australia, Statistical Local Areas, (2011 ASGC) datagraph. [online] Available at: [Accessed 17 Oct. 2017].

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