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Concepts of Health.

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Jennifer Dempsey

on 24 September 2013

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Transcript of Concepts of Health.

Concepts of Health.
Sociological Perspectives.

What is Health ?
World Health organisation defines health as :
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

Do you agree ?

Health definitions
Positive - The person feels good both physically and mentally. As the WHO states 'complete physical, mental and social wellbeing'.

Negative - only focuses on the 'absence' of disease.

Holistic - Taking all aspects of a persons life into account. PIES

Models of Health
Biomedical – An approach to health and illness that identifies health as the absence of disease and focuses on diagnosing and curing individuals with specific illnesses. (Problems located within the individual).

Socio-medical model – Focusing on the social and environmental factors that influence our health and well being, including the impact of poverty, poor housing, diet and pollution. (Problems located within the environment).

Biomedical model
Strengths :
Based on scientific knowledge.
Has provided many effective cures and treatments for disease and physical conditions.

Limitations :
Focuses on the individual and pays insufficient attention to environment and social factors associated with health problems.

Socio-economic model
Strengths :
Widely used and understood by health care professionals in developed countries.
Focuses on population health and takes a broad range of factors into account in promoting this.
Offers a broader, more flexible and inclusive way of understanding health, illness and disability than the biomedical model.
Can explain why population level health improvements were achieved when social conditions improved in the late 19th century.


Cannot explain illness or many mental health problems were there are no physical signs.
Treatments can be expensive and require training and expertise to deliver.
Cannot be used to address an individuals health problems.
Doesn’t have a clear way of identifying health problems.
Changing the environment and health related attitudes and behaviour are complex tasks, takes time.

Task 3 - Scenario
Aziz and Tamsela have four young children. Tamsela’s elderly parents live with them. Their three-bedroomed house is in a deprived and rather depressing area of London. Their house is in a poor state of repair; it is damp and very expensive to keep warm in the winter. Neither Aziz nor Tamsela is currently in paid work.
The family is in poor health. In the winter the children seem to have permanent colds. Tamsela suffers from asthma and her father has bronchitis. Tamsela’s mother is depressed and has been prescribed drugs for this condition.
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