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What are the central features of the 'biomedical model' and how does this approach to health and illness compare and contrast strategies with both 'individualist health promotion' strategies and 'social medicine'?

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Introduction

SECTION B QUESTION 3: What are the central features of the 'biomedical model' and how does this approach to health and illness compare and contrast strategies with both 'individualist health promotion' strategies and the more radically inclined perspective of 'social medicine'? In today's public health system, there seems to exist a public health continuum in which individualist health promotion lies at the conservative end of the continuum, social medicine lies at the radical end of the continuum and the biomedical model lies somewhere in between the other two models. The biomedical model essentially has four main characteristics. Its biological in nature, therefore it reduces illness to a biological process. Its scientific in nature, thus regards the scientific method as providing the only means by which to access valid knowledge. Its mechanistic in nature, therefore conceptualizes the separation of body and mind and perceives the body as a machine of which a disease is a malfunctioning part that requires fixing, and the biomedical model emphasize on finding a cure, rather than prevention of the disease. ...read more.

Middle

The culture of the individualist health promotion model is that issues are individualized, thus everyone is responsible for their own health. The problem with this is that if an issue is one of public concern, it can be made into an individual problem. The social medicine model is similar to that of the individualist health promotion model in the fact that its emphasis is also on prevention. It differs although in that its prevention comes through social change, as opposed to the individual. The social medicine model acknowledges the biological component of disease, but unlike the biomedical model, the social medicine model believes that the diseases are due to the social conditions in which they develop. This model believes that the origin of the great diseases in the 18th and 19th centuries was the social environment of developing capitalism. The social medicine model demands changes in society's structure. It believes that rather than examine the individual's body in search for bacteriological explanations of disease or search for new drugs in the laboratory, this model identifies the social environment as the source of sickness and ill health. ...read more.

Conclusion

For example, the fast food chain McDonalds being forced to introduce a range of healthy foods and putting a nutrition table on every burger wrapper due to growing number of law suits by people becoming obese after consuming large quantities of their foods. With advances in technology, society's culture is becoming lazier, for example, people choosing to drive, rather than walk; to watch sports rather than participate; pay their bills or do their hopping on the internet, rather than go doing it themselves. It is for this reason the social medicine model calls for changes in the structure and culture of society to prevent obesity, thus placing the onus on the government. From the above example, it can therefore be seen that the biomedical model is the most favored because it doesn't threaten powerful groups and can be harnessed by capitalists. The individual health promotion is increasing in popularity as it is relatively cheap and can reduce the governments spending on healthcare, while coinciding with the biomedical model. Social medicine on the other hand, calls for radical changes in society's structure and culture, thus not being favorable among powerful organizations. ...read more.

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