Social factors key to health, WHO says
The World Health Organization has just finished an extensive three-year study looking at the relationship between social conditions and health, concluding that "social injustice is killing people on a grand scale."
Working conditions, education, housing, food, social security, and work-life balance were found to be extremely important factors in life expectancy. As a point of comparison, the study notes that male life expectancy at birth for someone from Calton, a poor suburb of Glasgow, is 54, while it's 82 for someone from the wealthy (and nearby) Lenzie.
It seems a pretty common sensical idea--that where you live, how you live, and who you live with would be huge health factors--but apparently studies like these are still needed to point out the obvious. Factors that lead to wellness are all interrelated, and the sooner governments act on that knowledge, the better.
Social factors - rather than genetics - are to blame for huge variations in ill health and life expectancy around the world, a report concludes.
The report, drawn up by an eminent panel of experts forming the WHO's Commission on the Social Determinants of Health, found that, in almost all countries, poor socioeconomic circumstances equated to poor health.
The differences were so marked that genetics and biology could not begin to explain them.
He said: "The key message of our report is that the circumstances in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age are the fundamental drivers of health, and health inequity."
"We rely too much on medical interventions as a way of increasing life expectancy."