Components of health (continued)

CONTINUING THE DISCUSSION OF COMPONENTS OF HEALTH

As we talked about in our last post:  The health of individual people and their communities are affected by a wide range of contributory factors. People’s good or bad health is determined by their environment and situations …

HOW DO THESE COMPONENTS AFFECT HEALTH?

  1. Where we live: this can affect health by determining access to affordable, effective health care and by defining the cultural norms for what is considered healthy.  For instance, if your community feels that “having a touch of sugar” is the norm, then diabetes is likely to be prevalent.
  2. Environment: this can refer to the natural environment (climate, geography, etc.) and to the built environment (urban, rural, etc.). Both natural and built environments can make it easier or more difficult to be healthy.  For instance, access to the natural environment can be made easier by things such as biking or hiking paths.  Environment may also refer to actions taken by humans to improve or destroy the natural environment.  For instance, allowing toxic chemicals to enter the water system can result in health issues.
  3. Genetics – our genetic make-up will affect our predisposition for certain diseases. It is not the final say, however.
  4. Income – research shows that our socio-economic level is one factor in health. See page 40 of this publication by Health and Human Services for one example of this: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus11.pdf. [Figure 35]
  5. Education – research shows that the higher our education level, the healthier we tend to be. See page 37 of this publication by Health and Human Services for one example of this: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus11.pdf. [Figure 22]
  6. Relationships – research shows that having a strong support system improves our ability to fight disease. See this article for information on positive and negative impacts of social relationships: http://www.psy.cmu.edu/~scohen/AmerPsycholpaper.pdf

YOUR ROLE

Think about the 6 components defined above. Select one component that you feel needs major improvement in your community.  Identify ways that you might be able to help improve it, such as attending a government meeting where the component will be a topic or writing a letter to a member of your community with ideas on how to improve the component that will have a positive effect on community health.