19.1 The Social Construction of Health
Medical sociology is the systematic study of how humans manage issues of health and illness, disease and disorders, and health care for both the sick and the healthy. The social construction of health explains how society shapes and is shaped by medical ideas.
19.2 Global Health
Social epidemiology is the study of the causes and distribution of diseases. From a global perspective, the health issues of high-income nations tend toward diseases like cancer as well as those that are linked to obesity, like heart disease, diabetes, and musculoskeletal disorders. Low-income nations are more likely to contend with infectious disease, high infant mortality rates, scarce medical personnel, and inadequate water and sanitation systems.
19.3 Health in the United States
Despite generally good health in the U.S. compared with less-developed countries, America is still facing challenging issues such as a prevalence of obesity and diabetes. Moreover, Americans of historically disadvantaged racial groups, ethnicities, socioeconomic status, and gender experience lower levels of health care. Mental health and disability are health issues that are significantly impacted by social norms.
19.4 Comparative Health and Medicine
There are broad, structural differences among the health care systems of different countries. In core nations, those differences include publicly funded health care, privately funded health care, and combinations of both. In peripheral and semi-peripheral countries, a lack of basic health care administration can be the defining feature of the system.
19.5 Theoretical Perspectives on Health and Medicine
While the functionalist perspective looks at how health and illness fit into a fully functioning society, the conflict perspective is concerned with how health and illness fit into the oppositional forces in society. The interactionist perspective is concerned with how social interactions construct ideas of health and illness.