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Essay Topic: Economic and social factors that impact on the health of indigenous Australians and also the social and economic factors that impact on the health of men.
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Factors Affecting Health Outcomes
Factors affecting the health of the indigenous Australians
The indigenous groups of Australia who are most commonly referred to as the Aboriginal group and Torrent Strait Islanders, suffer the consequences of losing land, their dignity, their autonomy and most of all they do not get access to decent health care due to social and economic disadvantage. According to Donato & Segal (2013), the disparity between the health of indigenous people and the non-indigenous groups continues to remain prevalent in Australia.
The economic disadvantages created by segregation and geographical restriction making it hard for the indigenous groups to afford medical care like any other Australian (Donato & Segal,2013). According to Roe, Zeitz & Fredericks(2012), during the 2001 national census, the study stated that the average incomes for the indigenous groups were very low and accounted for 38% of the nation’s total income. The unemployment rate was at 20%, and the college students were very unlikely to complete school due to economic constraints. There is widespread poverty which makes access and affordability of health services a luxury for many. Due to inability to afford decent education most of the indigenous Australians are illiterate, and illiteracy is usually linked to poor health status. Knowledge is power and the Aboriginal group, and Torrent Strait Islanders lack the ability to observe and uphold the basic sanitation and health practices which can only be taught in learning institutions thus making them vulnerable to a variety of germs causing illness. The poverty also affects clinical outcomes directly since the Aboriginal group, and Torrent Strait Islander has to make a choice between medical care and basic needs and can therefore not afford medicine. According to Donato & Segal (2013), the poor housing in the residential area of the indigenous Australians is characterized by over crowdedness and poor sanitation as a result of economic disadvantage, and this makes them more vulnerable to communicable diseases. The inability to afford good a balanced diet for their families puts them at risk of acquiring diet-related diseases, and this is mostly in the infants who may grow up weak and at risk of getting chronic diseases. Behaviours like alcoholism and drug abuse are behaviors associated with people of lower economic status, and this may further affect the health of the indigenous group since the poorer you are, the less control one has over their life.
The social determinants theory states that the inequality in health provision is only due to a series of interconnected social factors of disadvantage. The Aboriginal group and Torrent Strait Islanders face a lot of social problems which in turn weakens their health status and accessibility. According to Roe, Zeitz & Fredericks (2012), the socially weak environment triggers mental stress which in turn affects the body metabolism, blood circulation and the normal physiological functions of the body which may cause organ failure of some agencies. The major social problem is the existence of racism which has not only reduced the quality of care offered but also contributed to both mental and physical health. Experts believe there is an adamant correlation between the racial discrimination and poor health outcomes of the Indigenous Australians. According to Donato & Segal (2013), due to discriminatory practices, the indigenous groups are often misplaced from their homes and research shows some 38% are people who were separated from their families when they were children due to displacement. Such people are likely to get involved with drug and substance abuse and therefore weaken their physical and emotional health and also pass on the habits to the next generations. According to Roe, Zeitz & Fredericks (2012), the women in the indigenous groups are victims of a lot of social circumstances which include gender inequality which requires most of them to remain unemployed to take care of the families and also exposes them to violence. Again the policies and programs for human rights provide no support for women exposed to domestic violence and indigenous women, therefore, have to live with these consequences which may lead to mental and emotional instability. There are no prominent human rights activists for the people in the indigenous areas since those who do so are always after popularity after which they forget the group. According to Williams (2008), the Aboriginal group and Torrent Strait Islanders face a lot of discrimination and exclusion since they do not participate in voting and they also have the disadvantage of being located in marginalized locations away from civilization. This makes it harder to develop.
Factors affecting the Health of Men
A series of factors contribute to the elevated health risks of the male gender which are as a result of structural inequalities and opportunities. People have reported a lower health status than women.
Men engage in more risky income generating activities like in construction industries among others which are not only prone to accident occurrence but have a lot of environmental pollution. According to Williams (2008), The economic situation is one of the most commonly known causes of health disparities in men, and this is most prevalent in minority group men. Research has shown that a white graduate is four times more likely to get employment as compared to a black man. This leaves the black man at an economic disadvantage where health care becomes a luxury he may not afford. Owing to their economic disadvantage, people are more likely to be the initiators of violence and also its victims and the exposure to prison and disengaged relationships further reduces their health outcomes.
According to Savoie, Morettin, Green & Kazanjian(2004), men suffer from different diseases at different ages, and this may make them more vulnerable to poor health. The nature of most people is to remain disengaged with society and keep most of their emotional stressors to themselves, unlike women who believe in speaking out. This exposes men to chances of getting emotionally stressed and also having poor physical health. There exists emphasis in various cultures which stress on the man being the breadwinner of the family has led poor health in men. Religions stress that a man is the head of the household and should at all costs ensure his family is secure in all aspects. With the rising rate of unemployment, the inability to support their families has caused poor mental and physical health to the men. According to William (2003) men also have a more common habit of using alcohol and drugs in their lifetime as compared to man and this exposes them to a lot of health hazards. The nature of people having misplaced priorities and forgetting to observe a healthy diet makes them vulnerable to cardiovascular diseases as they are known to eat fast foods that are very high in cholesterol mostly. The personal health practices which include a reduced emphasis on hygiene may increase the risk of exposure to drugs. Men have a more common culture of engaging in violence and have lower abilities to deal with the effects and consequences, male children who experience exposure to violence in their childhood are more likely to be affected psychologically.
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