Health is a condition of mental, physical and social well being in which infirmity and illness are absent. It encompasses a person’s total well being, emotional, physical and social aspects. The state has been described as the sum total of the human being with its relation to surrounding circumstances such as the environment, family, and society. A happy healthy individual is one who enjoys good health and physical well being. To attain the ideal state, one must ensure that proper steps and healthy practices are adopted in the daily life and adopt a positive attitude towards health and well being.
Environment is one of the important determinants of population health. This factor determines the educational, economic and geographic status of an individual. The prevailing social factors influence the individual behavior. These influences include attitudes and values of the people living in the community or country. Different regions and cultures have different social determinants and patterns of individual behavior, which can affect the health and survival of the population.
There has been a huge amount of research done on health disparities. Studies have shown that even if there are some differences in life expectancy or income levels between countries, these gaps are often not bridged as this has a direct impact on health disparities. One of the most common determinants of health disparities is the disparity in access to essential public health services. The need for developing policies that address these health disparities is increasing as there has been a growing population in the Western world.
Studies have also shown that environmental factors may affect the health care provided to an individual. These factors refer to the social settings one lives in. Some researchers have looked at health care disparities in a limited geographical area by analysing the environmental factors found in homes, offices, hospitals and workplaces. The results showed that genetics was more important than environmental factors. The findings of this study brought about recommendations for policy makers to examine the role of genetics in influencing health outcomes and thus provide better healthcare.
The role of diet in health disparities has also been examined. There is evidence that diets which are high in saturated fats and sugar can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, there is evidence that diets low in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and soy can lower the risks of some common chronic diseases. Policies aimed at addressing health disparities may therefore aim at improving nutrition. This would in turn reduce the prevalence of chronic conditions and could lead to improved health outcomes.
Another area of great concern when it comes to the well being of an individual is his or her disease prevention or treatment. A person’s health status can affect his or her ability to pay for necessary health services or to access them. Therefore, there are increasing calls for greater focus on achieving good health status. This could lead to improvements in public awareness and possibly policy changes to ensure better access to disease prevention and treatment. An improved health status can ultimately have far-reaching effects on the economy.