Changing the Social Determinants of Health


Wk.5  (a) Negative effects of industrial production on Food Supply

(b) Location effects on access to good food.

Wk.6 (a) Inadequate housing and health

(b)  Other aspects of the environment to consider

Wk.7 (a) Organization of work affects health

(b) Changes that can be made

Wk. 8 (a) Violence and Health

(b) Violence affecting people living in Canada and new arrivals

Wk. 9 (a) Colonial policies and practices of Canadian State towards Aboriginal Indians

(b) Effect of polices on Aboriginal Indians communities and health

Wk.10. (a) Capitalist economy and health

(b)  Economic equality and health

Wk. 11   (a) Medicine, human need and capitalistic impositions

(b) Changes based on equity

Wk. 12 (a) Political interventions needed to improve health in Canada

(b) Challenges to organizing change

Week: 5

  • Studies have shown where ethanol production has affected food supply in Canada. For example, corn has been used to produce ethanol in response to the international fuel shortage. It meant that less corn and corn products were available for sale. Besides, the products which were available carried a very high price. Hence, while the industry was producing more and cutting fuel prices by approximately 40%, consumers has less of the and by products were recycled for fuel ( Ethanol Across America, 2008). Other negative effects of industrial production on food supply relates to chemical contamination when growth in areas where factories producing harmful gasses enter the atmosphere because organic compounds (POPs) accumulate in fatty tissues and up the food chain. Besides,

the arctic has been a cold trap for industrial pollutants, exposing people contaminated  environments on earth (Environment and Health, chapter, 8)

  • Our social location affects access to good food by determining whether there is enough financial resources to purchase the best products. Usually, fresh, labeled organic food carries a higher price than food grown with insecticides or fertilizers. Many people who obtain food subsidies from the government may have insufficient money to buy the best products if they have a large family. Therefore, government through policy making affect food supply (Environment and Health, chapter, 8)

Week: 6

(a)  Inadequate housing can negatively affect one’s health due to overcrowding; poor sewage facilities and exposure to the elements. These are some determinants of the healthy space theory (Health Inequalities Chapter 12). Overcrowding predisposes to poor ventilation which initiates bacterial growth and cross infection. Poor sewage facilities could create contamination with human waste and water, which cause outbreak of typhoid or dysentery. Undue exposure to the elements impact health by allowing the body defenses to fall exposing it to pneumonias or heat stroke.

(b) Macro structures affect micro ones (Health Inequalities Chapter 12).  As such, other aspects of housing which ought to be considered related to cleanliness of the environment; flies and mosquito infestation; rats and cockroaches are health hazards because they transmit disease as well as healthy space free of tension (Health Inequalities Chapter 12).   .

Week: 7

  • Layoffs as well as heavy workloads can be in response to a downturn in the economy (Social Determinants Chapter 6—Worker Insecurity).  Organization of work can affect a person’s health if there are stressful tasks to be performed. For example, in nursing there is expected to be a nurse/patient ratio workload. When this is not maintained and a nurse has to manage more patients during a shift than is the norm, then the work environment becomes a stressor. Then gender differences in allocation of duties can produce a discriminatory effect create stress as well (Social Determinants Chapter 6—Worker Insecurity).
  • One in three Canadians workers experience conflict between work and family (Social Determinants Chapter 6—Worker Insecurity).  As such, Changes, which can be made relate to maintaining workloads and securing a safe work environment by addressing alternative situations such as fire hazards; maintenance of equipment that can become threats to safety. Some of these are replacing air condition filters, which can trigger colds by dispersing harmful organisms; making more just working conditions eliminating gender biases.

Week: 8

  • Violence can affect one’s health by producing emotional trauma. It may be related to one’s immigration status and gender (Health Inequities Chapter 11—Violence & Status). This can lead to hypertension, depression and psychiatric disorders. Ultimately, people develop low self-esteem issues that can trigger severe pressure on the digestive system producing ulcers of the stomach (Germov & Hornosty, 2012).
  • According to the Canadian Public Health Association violence and abuse are public health/social issues prevalent in the society. They take the pattern of domestic violence; gang violence; rape; armed robberies and murder. Common domestic violence cases pertain to the elderly; women children and new arrivals/immigrants; this is termed structural violence (Health Inequities Chapter 11—Violence & Status). In gang violence immigrants and women are often the target since they do not know areas, which are festered with crime offenders. They sometimes are targeted for armed robberies as well, which could end in murder depending on the circumstances (Canadian Public Health Association, 2013).

Week: 9

  • Internationally, it is known that the culture of Aboriginal Indians have been mutilated by colonial criminalization polices constructing their identity as nomads (Health Inequities Chapter 2—Indigenous Health). In Canada, it was no different. After centuries of colonial marginalization techniques pertaining to Canadian Indians an Aboriginal Justice strategy was designed (Raphael, 2009). This strategy embraces teaching and maintaining the culture of these indigenous people which was lost. The Canadian government has now acknowledged that a person’s culture is demonstrated in artifacts such as language, dress, food and art. Integrating this aspect of life into social policy would enable participation in the social structure allowing entrance into society as meaningful citizens (Sutherland, 2002).
  • The colonial policies and practices did affect the health of Canadian Aboriginal Indians severely as in any other country. They did not access to proper health care due to their culture and confrontations with colonials. Predominantly they lived in their world of traditional medicine and scientific medicine could not have been interpreted. Now with the Aboriginal Justice strategy they can learn English; attend schools; develop skill applicable to their culture in accessing health care through scientific medicine (Health Inequities Chapter 2—Indigenous Health). In Canada, it was no different. After centuries.

Week: 10

  • In a capitalist economic system health care is privately owned. There is very little control regarding prices paid for services by the federal. In this way people who have money to pay for services will get them and those who do not will ultimately, become ill and die without medical attention. Importantly, in Canada the middle class is shrinking due to a capitalist oriented economy (Social Determinants Chapter 3—Wage Inequality). Therefore, policies regarding treatment protocols have become deranged within such a system. As the middle class shirks more people cannot afford quality healthcare.
  • Economic equality does not make a nation universally healthier or individuals within the society because economic equality is just one social determinant of health. There are many others. For example, the causal factor for income inequality in a capitalist economy is wages, which is determined by employers and corporations (Social Determinants Chapter 3—Wage Inequality). Therefore, while health care services may be available within a society it may not be accessible because people cannot pay for it. There may be social determinant boundaries that separate availability from accessibility (Raphael, 2009). According to research findings in Toronto income inequality was directly related to poor self-reported, but no chronic distress. It can be concluded that Canadians are adapting to inequities within the society (Social Determinants Chapter 3—Wage Inequality)

Week: 11

  • In my opinion while doctors would have to be trained and certain medications dispensed, the population should have a legal choice of whether they take a particular drug/ treatment or not. Citizens must not have to submit to capitalistic medicalization (Second Opinion Chapter 9—Medicalization). More importantly, medicalization imposes that so many drugs t be prescribed and afterwards recalled. Capitalist medicine polices make it appear that every time one visits a doctor he/she must leave with a prescription. Without capitalistic tendencies always to sell a treatment or drug fewer people would be in health care institutions.
  • A society with ideas based on equity could transform the way physicians classify patients

The psychology of drug therapy has infiltrated the society that people are socialized into believing that if they do not get their medications they will get worse or die (Second Opinion Chapter 9—Medicalization). More importantly, medicalization imposes. Equity would enable fairness in the treatment of even stigmatized diseases such as mental illness. Clients do get worse and die from side effects of the treatment because there is no equity in decision making. One such example is chemotherapy and mental illness treatment (Germov & Hornosty, 2012).

Week: 12

  • While Canada can boast about universal health care provided by the state where citizens do not have to pay for services out of pocket or a health insurance coverage policy to access care s many developed nations, there is still room for improvement in relation to accessibility to quality health care. Arguments advance that state owned entities offer the poor services due to lack of funding, whereas privatization gives more scope. In Canada Federal should provide more supervision of health care delivery instead of merely funding the system for private practitioner to exploit the nation’s poor and underprivileged.
  • A challenge to organizing better supervision of private for-profit health care institutions in Canada is resistance to audits. Audits should not only encompass finances, but quality of care, predominantly. Canadian health care system has issues regarding quality and accessibility even though there is availability (Germov & Hornosty, 2012).


Canadian Public Health Association (2013). Violence in Society: A Public Health Perspective.

Retrieved on March 31st from

Ethanol Across America (2008). The Impact of Ethanol Production on Food, Feed and Fuel

Issue Brief: Summer 2008. Retrieved on 31st March, 2013 from

Germov,J., & Hornosty, J eds. (2012) Second Opinion: An Introduction to Health

Sociology—Canadian Edition. Toronto: Oxford University Press)

Raphael, Dennis ed. (2009) Social Determinants of Health—(2nd Edition) .Toronto:

Canadian Scholars Press

Sutherland, J. (2002). Colonialism, Crime, and Dispute Resolution: A Critical Analysis of

Canada’s Aboriginal Justice Strategy. Retrieved on March 31st, 2013 from