Social Determinants of Health COPD

What did the Whitehall study reveal about the connection between health and wealth? What is the wealth-health gradient? The Whitehall study revealed that the lower an individual’s grade of employment, the higher their risk of disease and illness. The wealth-health gradient describes the fine gradation of wealth and health in relation to one another. No matter how small the increments, as socioeconomic status goes down, so does health. What social changes were most responsible for the 30-year increase in American life expectancy over the 20th century? What policies does the film point to that might account for our low rank in recent years compared to other countries?

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The social changes that were most responsible for the 30-year increase in American life expectancy over the 20th century were universal education, better sanitation, the eight-hour work day, and income tax. The film states that it is the economic policies of other countries, not their health policies, that place them above the United States in ranking. The filmmakers give examples of other countries’ implementation of universal healthcare coverage, mandated four weeks of paid vacation, increased minimum wage, free college, and family policies. Adewale Troutman says that he promotes individual responsibility, but always within the context of social determinants. Why does he link the two?

How does individual responsibility influence your health topic? Troutman links individual responsibility and social determinants because individuals have a choice to take responsibility of their health, but some communities do not have the resources to do so; social determinants get in the way of individual responsibility. Individual responsibility has a significant influence over the occurrence of COPD. The majority of COPD cases are attributed to cigarette smoking behavior (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011). Quitting smoking is the most vital step towards treating COPD, and it is an individual’s responsibility to do so. It is also an individual’s responsibility to not smoke in the first place. Ichiro Kawachi observes that the ability to avoid smoking and eat a healthy diet depends on access to “income, education, and the social determinants of health.” How do income, education, and the social determinants of health “ influence your health topic?Income, education, and the social determinants of health hold great influence over COPD. The lowest socioeconomic groups are up to 14 times more likely to suffer from respiratory disease than the highest group (Pleasants, Riley, & Mannino, 2016).

One explanation for this is that “smoking and environment play leading roles in lung disease development – and people of lower SES tend to have substantially greater exposures to both of these factors” (Pleasants, Riley, & Mannino, 2016). The lower your socioeconomic status, the more life stressors you experience, making you more likely to turn to tobacco as a coping mechanism and also less likely to seek treatment for addiction. Smoking is also more socially accepted in lower class communities. Some studies have also shown that lack of education is associated with lower odds of quitting among smokers, especially since the less-educated have less knowledge about smoking cessation drug therapies (Pleasants, Riley, & Mannino, 2016). Lower income also means lower quality healthcare, which hinders one’s ability to be diagnosed or treated for the lung damage that causes COPD. How does kinds of employment, education, housing, or transportation policies influence your health topic? People of lower class often work at industrial or manual labor jobs with occupational hazards such as chemicals, fumes, dust, etc. that increase the likelihood of developing COPD. On the other hand, higher income jobs typically involve more administrative and office work. Housing and location is also a determinant of COPD. More populous urban areas have more air pollutants, which can exacerbate COPD.

Also, poor housing conditions such as overcrowding and poor ventilation when using biofuels increases combustible fuel exposure; this is dangerous as “meta-analyses have reported approximately twofold greater odds of developing COPD in people exposed to biofuels” (Pleasants, Riley, & Mannino, 2016).

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Social Determinants of Health COPD. (2021, Dec 29). Retrieved November 28, 2022 , from

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