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Describe the main attributes of both the biomedical and social models of health. There are a number of ways in which health can be defined, some argue that to be healthy you must

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Describe the main attributes of both the biomedical and social models of health. There are a number of ways in which health can be defined, some argue that to be healthy you must be free from any form of disease or abnormality others state to be healthy depends on your biopsychosocial approach, your ability to satisfy the demands of life, your health as a result of your past, your lifecycle, your culture and also your personal responsibility. However in 1946 the World Health Organisation (WHO) defined health as .............. "Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity... is one of the fundamental rights of every human being.... and is dependant upon the fullest co-operation of individuals and States. Governments have a responsibility for the health of their peoples which can be fulfilled only by the provision of adequate health and social measures." www.who.org This definition by WHO is recognised worldwide, but it doesn't mean that it is right and everyone must agree with it, as the biomedical model states that illness is always due to abnormalities in the body's functioning, and to be healthy one must be free from disease. ...read more.


Yet the biomedical model does not differentiate between illness and heath and suggests that if you are not ill you are healthy. This doesn't encourage or promote healthy lifestyles in people, as one might think that if they are smoking, drinking excessively, not exercising and eating a high fat diet and don't feel ill then it is fine to continue with these bad habits, when in-fact this is untrue. Blaxter, M (2004) Health As well as the biological factors that might result in one becoming unwell there are also social factors that can be linked. This isn't really surprising to think that individuals with restricted housing, transport, education, income and employment opportunities, are at greater risk of ill health than those who are relatively better off. Societies are quite often divided into different cultural, religious, and economic groups and it is apparent that certain diseases are more prevalent among some members of a community than others. Even our lifespan is determined by social factors as well as predetermined genetic factors. The social model of health takes an all round holistic approach to health and it incorporates many differences of importance, though it doesn't recognise that social factors such as poverty have to be included in a model of the causes of ill health. ...read more.


A social model of health looks at how community infrastructure is critical in preventing ill health and in creating socially good health outcomes for all members of society. Blaxter, M (2004) Health Using the same example used to show the biomedical model of health, lung cancer, may be described by the social model as being caused by; a culture of unhealthy eating or smoking, a family situation where others smoke causing passive smoking, a hereditary disposition to the disease and the patient themselves smoking. From looking closely at both the biomedical and social models of health it is clear that the social model takes a more holistic approach to health by looking at ones life and lifestyle, and by not automatically taking medication but instead looking into the causes and factors that lead to the illness unlike the biomedical model, which focuses mainly on the functioning of the body parts, and a direct cause of one feeling unwell. Reference List Annandale, E. (1998) The Sociology of Health Medicine Cambridge, Polity Blaxter, M. (2004) Health Cambridge, Polity Hardey, M (1998) The Social Context of Health Buckingham, Open University Press www.who.org Accessed 20th Oct, 2005 ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 Selina Mc Kinney ...read more.

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