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Compare the impact of social factors on the health of young rural people to those of young people living in an Australian city.

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Question The ability of young Australians to maintain good health is related largely to the following social factors - socioeconomic status, employment, education, gender, ethnicity, aboriginality, geographical location, sexual orientation, peer influence. Compare the impact of these social factors on the health of young rural people to those of young people living in an Australian city. In your answer propose explanations of how each social factor might impact on the health of both groups and discuss any differences, similarities and inequalities that exist. (Approx 1500 words) Response "Health" to the World Health Organisation is: 'a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of diseases or infirmity.' Young people are 12-24 years (Australia's Young People: Their Health and Wellbeing 2003). In June 2003 there were 3.6 million young people. Approximately 16% of them were born overseas. Nearly 70% lived in major cities, 19% lived in inner regional areas and around 11% lived in outer regional and remote areas. A person's health is impacted by biomedical and genetic factors; health behaviours; socioeconomic factors; environmental factors; and general background factors (example: culture, politics and policies, media). The health, behaviour and attitudes of young people today are Australia's future health. Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people do not share the same good health. Various social factors contribute to the health of young people Socioeconomic status The socially disadvantaged people live shorter lives and suffer more illness than those who are well off. ...read more.


In 2002 around 75% of students stayed at school until Year 12 (females 81%, males 70%), but for indigenous students, it was 38%. The 2003 Report found that people who have completed Year 12 were more likely to rate their health as 'excellent' or 'very good' compared to those who have completed Year 9. Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that high levels of psychological distress in young people are more likely caused by poor educational and employment outcomes. The highest levels of psychological distress were found in people who only completed Year 9. Psychological wellbeing is also associated with physical health problems. Young people who did not complete Year 12 were more likely to be males and were in government schools and in rural areas. They were also more likely to be from a lower socioeconomic background and from English-speaking families and of Aboriginal descent. Gender In 2001, within the age groups 12-14 and 18-24 years, males and females were hospitalised at similar rates. In the age group 15-17 years, females were hospitalised at a rate 1.5 times that for males. The main causes of hospitalisation are: The most frequent diagnosis groups for young women were depressive episode and eating disorders (mainly anorexia nervosa). In addition: males are more likely than females to: suffer from drug dependendence disorder; hospitalised (twice those over females); commit suicide; seek treatment for alcohol and cannabis; injecting drugs; drink alcohol under 18; use cannabis; ...read more.


Sexual development is a normal part of adolescence. About 10% of students surveyed in 1997 were either attracted to the same sex, both sexes or were unsure of their sexuality. They are at risk of marginalisation and isolation. Gay men may be at increased risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection like HIV/AIDS. Also both males and females in rural areas were found to be more sexually active. Risks involved with engaging in sexual activity include contracting sexually transmissible diseases and unwanted pregnancy, as well as emotional risks involved with coercion and unwanted sexual activities. In 2001 more females were affected by chlamydia and syphillis, while both males and females were equally affected by gonorrhoea, and more males suffered from HIV. Peer Influence Peer influence may be positive or negative to a person. Where it is negative it may lead to health risks relating to binge drinking, use of illicit drugs especially cannabis, unsafe sex, road injuries, unsafe dieting, and smoking. For many, alcohol consumption is a group behaviour. Binge drinking can increase the risk of injury from falls, assault, road accidents, fights and other violence, and can foster coercive sexual activity and unprotected sex. Serious binge drinking can lead to alcohol poisoning, coma and death. Long-term excessive use of alcohol can lead to physical, emotional and social problems, including alcohol addiction, poor diet, stomach problems, liver, heart and brain damage, depression, family and relationship problems, and legal and financial difficulties. ...read more.

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