November 15, 2018
University of Waterloo
Professor Wade Wilson
TA: Christine Edet
We often misinterpret health and wellness (Insel et al., 2012). Overall condition of the body refers to health whereas optimal health and vitality refers to wellness. In order to be healthy and well, people need access to health care which can diagnose and treat health problems (Insel et al., 2012). However, not everyone across the globe can access health care, especially when income inequality exists (Donovan et al., 2008). Lower income people are more vulnerable to health problems in comparison to higher income people (Donovan et al., 2008).
Income inequality affects the person’s choice to buy food, thus, making them more prone to develop health problems. Additionally, having low income will impact the food consumption of people (Dibsdall et al., 2003). Eating healthily nourishes the body in such a way that it improves the overall wellness, both physically and mentally (Dibsdall et al., 2003). However, not everyone can access foods rich that are rich in nutrition and necessary for growth and healthy development (Dibsdall et al., 2003). A study was performed regarding how low salary people think and act towards eating nutritional foods and it included participants aged 17 to 100 years that had low family income levels (Dibsdall et al., 2003). As per the results accomplished, 78% of the participants confessed that they were not able to buy and consume fruits and vegetables according to the recommended servings per day (8-10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day for adults and 4 servings for the fruit and vegetables per day for children) (Dibsdall et al., 2003). Out of these 78% participants, 7% did not have access to transportation because of low income levels to get to the nearest supermarket (Dibsdall et al., 2003). Based on the information and statistical data results provided, we can conclude that having low incomes causes poor diet and thus makes us more vulnerable to developing health problems like bulimia, anorexia and many more (Dibsdall et al., 2003).
Secondly, low wages has a major effect on the physical development of people. As we all know from common knowledge that any form of physical activity is necessary for fitness and to maintain a healthy body (Jamieson, 2018). In spite of knowing the consequences of not exercising in a daily basis, people with less income are not being able to access resources like going to the gym, participating in fitness programs, or taking part in any kind of sports whether it would be swimming or skating in the winter (Jamieson, 2018). A research was performed by U.S. Census Bureau on participation of people in sports according to their household incomes (Jamieson, 2018). The outcomes of the research study proved that as household incomes decreases, the number of participants also decreases (Jamieson, 2018). Furthermore, it was shown that people with low incomes participated in physical activities that did not require too much use of equipment and minimal amount of assistance (Jamieson, 2018). For example, people with income less than $35,000 participated in physical activities like yoga, running/ jogging, and exercise walking in comparison to people who have high salaries, participated more in sports like golf, fishing, tennis, and swimming (Jamieson, 2018). According to the information and results given by this study, low household income creates health problems that not only physically impact people, but also including emotional, intellectual, and interpersonal wellness (Jamieson, 2018).
Thirdly, people with low salary have to face the consequences like not being able to access health care. Moreover, people with minimum wages cannot afford visits to the doctor and obtain medicines (Insel et al., 2012). In this kind of state, dentists and optometrists can seem like a distant memory to the low income people (Insel et al., 2012). Having a low income is the major predictor of health problems in comparison to any ethnic factor (Insel et al., 2012). People with low income are exposed to daily stressors like having multiple jobs in order to fulfill household requirements or facing with unreliable transportation problems (Insel et al., 2012). In addition, a study conducted in 2006 resulted in that low income people who live in wealthy areas had higher rates of mortality when compared to low income people living in lower income areas (Insel et al., 2012). Coping with the higher living expenses can cause stress amongst people with low salaries, eventually, leading to different kinds of health problems (Insel et al., 2012). Even after having these health problems, low income people in specific cannot acquire health care that is necessary (Insel et al., 2012).
Firstly, drinking, smoking, and use of tobacco causes more health problems rather than income inequality (Insel et al., 2012). According to Insel, smoking is the major cause of health that can be prevented in Canada (Insel et al., 2012). Approximately 45,000 canadians die every year from the use of tobacco, according to a study conducted. In addition, nearly 5.1 million canadians smoke and this stat is still increasing every year (Insel et al., 2012). Secondly, it is not necessary that only low income people have health problems from not being able to access resources that help maintain fitness and body health (Insel et al., 2012). Higher income people who are physically inactive are also at a high risk of developing health problems (Insel et al., 2012). According to a stat, in Canada, physical inactivity causes approximately 21,000 premature deaths every year and nearly $1.6 billion in direct costs (Insel et al., 2012).
In conclusion, income inequality causes health problems (Donovan et al., 2008). However, we cannot exclude the other aspects like stress, smoking, alcohol, and use of tobacco equally cause health problems amongst people with low income and high income (Insel et al., 2012).
Dibsdall, L. A., Lambert, N., Bobbin, R. F., ; Frewer, L. J. (2003). Low-income consumers’ attitudes and behaviour towards access, availability and motivation to eat fruit and vegetables. Public health nutrition, 6(2), 159-168.
Donovan, D., McDowell, I., & Hunter, D. (2008). AFMC Primer on Population Health: A virtual textbook on Public Health concepts for clinicians. AFMC Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada, 35-37.
Insel, P., Roth, W. T., Irwin, J. D., Burke, S. M. (2012). Core concepts in health. Mcgraw-Hill Ryerson.
Jamieson, K.M. (2018). Sociology of physical activity. Introduction to kinesiology (5th edition), 145-170. Human Kinetics Inc.