Health is a condition of mental, physical and social well being where infirmity and disease are absent. It also includes the knowledge of how to cope with problems, adopt a healthy lifestyle, manage diseases and manage one’s body and mind. People achieve health by working out a healthy diet plan, exercising and taking part in physical activities like sports. A physically fit body gives an overall healthy feeling and increases one’s energy level, reduces the risk of heart diseases, diabetes and hypertension. A healthy individual can perform all his or her daily activities without any hindrance. A physically fit person tends to think clearly and is able to concentrate properly.
In today’s world where there are increasing health disparities, many people still believe that they are at a disadvantage when it comes to health. One of the major causes of this is the lack of information. Lack of information means that there are certain things like hygiene, proper diet, exercise and prevention measures that are not talked about in the schools or in the media. This article looks at some of the major factors responsible for health disparities and suggests ways through which we can overcome such problems.
Health and fitness are two important concepts that most people do not associate with one another and this is the reason why there are still so many health disparities around the world. The first step towards overcoming health disparities is, understanding the two concepts. The American College of Sports Medicine defines good health as “a combination of functional capacity, physiological strength, endurance and muscular symmetry”. The National Association of Sports Medicine defines it as “exercise and training that improve performance, health, safety and injury prevention”.
Inadequate Nutrition: Studies have shown that obesity is associated with low-income, higher blood cholesterol levels, diabetes and other illnesses. Obesity also makes it difficult for people to take active participation in sports. A low-income group is more likely to be categorized as having health disparities when compared to a high-income group that has similar conditions and similar lifestyles. Studies have also shown that poor nutrition has implications on health insurance, because an unhealthy diet may not be covered under health care insurance policies.
Improper Exercise Environments: An uneven distribution of physical activities and exposure to different environmental risks and toxins affects the health of an individual. For example, an office that is located in a less exposed area will have a higher incidence of heart disease, cancer, stroke, osteoporosis and other diseases. Similarly, an office that is located in a high pollution environment will also have higher incidence of respiratory disorders, cardiovascular disorders and other serious ailments. The Environmental Protection Agency defines a ‘good’ health system as one that has consistent access to clean air, water and adequate information and resources. Conversely, a ‘bad’ health system has uneven distribution of physical activities, insufficient access to information and resources and poor or no access to clean air, water or adequate information and resources.
Socioeconomic Status: It is known that genetics can influence the health of an individual much more than the environment. In addition, environmental factors such as poor diets and exposure to toxins can also affect the health of an individual much more than genetics. Therefore, the definition of good health would depend on the extent of individual genetic influences and the extent of individual environmental factors such as exposure to toxins and poor diets. A ‘good’ health system would be one in which the genetic variation in disease causing genes is minimal and environmental factors such as toxins are minimal and controlled.