Ways Social Class and Gender Affect Health of a Population

Social Class and Gender impact on your Health
In this article we will try to find out how do you define health and illness? Explain the ways social class and gender affect health of a population? Describe how social class and gender have impacted your health and the health of your family members.

According to Schaefer (2012) ‘health is socially constructed, [and] we can consider how it varies in different situations or cultures’.

Health is a precious gift and a valuable blessing that one can have. An unhealthy person knows the value of health, as he identifies its importance. I partially agree with Schaefer, as I think Health is not constructed socially in a complete sense. It differs on the place, situation, food habits, environment, and culture. But Schaefer is right where he says health varies in different situations or cultures. A person can be healthy in a positive environment, situations, and motivating culture. A healthy person will be free from all types of illnesses and injuries with a sound mental and physical condition. The absence of illnesses and diseases does not mean that a person is healthy, as being completely physically fit and social well-being contribute a lot to health.

One method to stay healthy is doing regular physical exercises, having adequate sleep, healthy food habits, and avoiding unhealthy activities and habits like smoking and drinking. An excessively stressed person can never be healthy, as he will go through mental and physical strain that makes him unhealthy. Few people fall ill when they pass through tense situations, some allergic food items, and other behavioral changes. Genetic disorders are also a cause of health illnesses that result from one or more abnormalities in the genome. Apart from that, hereditary diseases also make a person unhealthy frequently due to some diseases that are spread through their generations.

Social class and gender are also the factors that affect the health of a population. Like people in lower socio-economic groups are more likely to get affected with long-term health conditions. They experience severe conditions than the people who represent the higher socio-economic groups. There are some health and well-being issues commonly associated with one gender such as depression, dementia, arthritis, etc. These diseases are commonly found in women and have severe effects on their health and well-being. Diseases like lung cancer, suicide, and heart stroke are common in men due to high stress, pressure, and responsibilities. This form of gender discriminative diseases have a significant impact on physical and mental health that limits access to healthcare, increases chances for ill health, and lowers life expectancy. Though it is a fact that women live a longer life than men, they experience a higher number of exposure to diseases and ill health during their lifetime.

I have lost many family members due to cardiac arrest, as it has affected many of my family members for generations. Though I have found many members affected with other diseases also, heart stroke has been more frequent. There is nothing wrong with accepting the fact that due to our belonging to a middle-class social class, we have had issues in accessing sufficient health care and medical facilities. I have observed most of the female members of the family not even revealing the health issues they were suffering from for a long time. Though it took time for me to understand the reason behind it that they were not willing to speak about it, or felt a burden to their family due to lack of financial resources.


  1. In the UK, socioeconomic disparities in health have been the subject of much research. Since the first Medical Officer of Health reports more than 150 years ago, disparities in health outcomes have been a source of concern. (Wellcome Trust). Greater socioeconomic deprivation was often associated with worse health outcomes. The British government added questions about occupation to the decennial census in the early 20th century. Researchers were then able to investigate health outcomes according to social status. A modified version of the 1911-created five-class Registrar General's Social Class (RGSC) system was still in operation in 2001. The RGSC has been replaced by the National Statistics Socio-Economic Classification (NS-SEC).

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