Foundations of Health

September 2003 Cohort

Student Number: 03970336

Inequalities of Health Care

There can be many definitions of health; it is all in accordance with what the individual defines it as. Seedhouse (1987) and Blaxter (1990) suggest that it will mean many different things to many different people.

"The definition of health is a contested issue, however in the late twentieth century there has been a development in health promotion work". (

A persons own definition is very important as this is how you interpret your own and others health. One outlook on health by Antonovsky (1987) is that "health can be viewed as the opposite to illness in a traditional sense or it can be interpreted as being a continuum between health/ease and dis/ease".

This essay will be outlining some of the inequalities of health and what has been done to improve them, also what can be done in the future to combat the inequalities.

Health inequalities can and are directly caused by differences in "socio-economic status, ethnicity and ability and ultimately related to differences in income, education, employment, material environment and lifestyle" (, 2004). These inequalities also coincide with the biological and psychological factors, which will be covered as part of this essay.

Health promotion is a large area associated with health and health inequalities and the government is always looking to extend and improve such promotions including breast cancer awareness, smoking and alcohol awareness. Although there are many health promotion activities, which are and will be taking place, this essay will be concentrating on health promotion through education and schooling and how they can help to tackle the many inequalities in health. Education is a prime example of how to address inequalities in health and covers issues such as nutritional needs, sex education and life skills, which are vital necessities combined together to promote good health.

The best-known literature, which has looked into reducing inequalities of health, is the Black Report written in 1980 by Douglas Black. Authorized by the government, the report was produced in order to explain trends in inequalities in health. These trends were to be examined and related to policies intended to promote and restore health. The report was primarily concerned with looking to reduce child poverty and economic inequality in general and focused its aims on promoting community health. Although the report recognized a link between socio-economic inequality and health inequality, which other reports have failed to do so, the Black Report was dismissed with the explanation of it being unrealistic.

The 1998 Acheson report chaired by Sir Donald Acheson (Independent Inquiry) supported the findings of the Black report in that poverty leads to poor health and made a recommendation that there be three main areas which need to be tackled in order to achieve improvements in health inequalities. The report stated that priority should be given to the health of families with children, improvements in the standards of poor households and that there should be steps taken to reduce income inequalities. (, 2004)
Join now!

Since the government accepted the links between life chances, deprivation and poor health, there have been policies put in place to support specifically targeted groups including: the 18-25's welfare to work programme, pension reform and minimum income guarantee and child support reform and working family tax credit.

There has also been a twenty-year programme launched by Tony Blair in response to the report, which aims to tackle and eradicate child poverty.

Although these reports have tended to focus on welfare, which is mainly the cause of inequalities in health, there are also other factors, ...

This is a preview of the whole essay