What is more important determinant of health: education or income? Introduction
According to World Health Organisation, ‘health is a state of complete physical and mental well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity (WHO, 1948).’ Several factors merge to affect the health of people and communities such as the place we live in, the environment, income and education level, all these factors influence the health of an individual. The health status of people is immense crucial as it ensures increased productivity in the community which helps internal stability and the nation’s economic growth. For past decades, some people proved that income and education are the main determinant of health. However, past studies showed that education is more important than income in determinant of health. This paper evidences that this statement is correct. Education
Education is a substantial contributor to health. Past studies supported that ‘schooling could increase knowledge about health effects of behaviour and medical-care options, change preferences, or train a person to better process and act upon information (Victor R. Fuchs 1986, p.243).’ Grossman also stated that ‘better-educated persons tend to be economically more efficient producers of health status (Grossman, 1973).’ This evidences that an educated person can keep healthy due to additional years of schooling and indicates that education is a vital determinant of health. Moreover, the education level of an individual is directly related to his/her health, whereby it determines his/her value of life and life expectancy. According to Koji and Chevalier, ‘education can help improve health by raising cognitive and socio-emotional skills and developing health related habits and attitudes (Koji and Chevalier, 2010).’ Through education, an individual can have better lifestyle choices which can benefit to his/her health. Lifestyle choices comprise cigarette use, drinking, food choices, exercises and stress management. According to Rosin, ‘obesity rates have increased dramatically over the last 30 years (Rosin, 2008).’ Obesity can raise a lot of health problems such as serious chronic diseases and disability. Also, people who have an obesity problem are more likely to have a lower quality of life, lower life expectancy as well as lower labour productivity. Rosin proved that ‘education can be health promoting through knowledge (Rosin, 2008).’ Koji and Chevalier also supported that ‘schools may provide an ideal environment in which children can develop healthier habits and lifestyles (Koji and Chevalier, 2010).’ It is crystal clear that a better and healthier lifestyle can be maintained through education and therefore the frequency of obesity and other preventable diseases can be reduced. This indicated that education is an important determinant of health. Furthermore, education has a more direct influence on health, according to the data from OECD; it evidenced that ‘education helps individuals obtain better job, higher earning, partners, safer residential areas and useful social networks which improve their living environment and access to health care (Koji and Chevalier, 2010).’ This showed that education affects an individual’s capability to navigate the health care system, interpret health information and converse effectively with care providers. Health literacy is the ability of the patient to comprehend health information and follow prescription regarding their treatment. From the standpoint of physicians, they are harder to explain the details of the illness together with prescriptions to an illiterate person compared to an educated person. This showed that an educated person has a better manage on illness and recover faster than an uneducated person. Also, past studies supported that ‘the level of education influences employment opportunities, earnings and social networks which can have a better way to relieve stress and receive more information on healthful...
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