Explore BrainMass

Health Policy in the United States

Discuss the ways in which health can be conceptualized by a society. What are the determinants of health in humans? What is the connection between how a society defines health and how it pursues health? Discuss the connection between health policies, health determinants, and health.

Solution Preview

Please see response attached, which is also presented below. I have also attached and excellent and relevant U.S. study that is highly relevant. I hope this helps and take care.

Although there is a large overlap in these questions, for organization purposes, I will address them separately, making reference to the previous question when there is an overlap.

1. "Discuss the ways in which health can be conceptualized by a society".

Conceptualizing Health

This is very similar to your last question. Health is often conceptualized similarly across different societies, through historical definitions and records and updated with new data collected through research and word of mouth. For example, with the United States changing trends comes a new emerging definition of health (see http://www.wma.net/e/press/pdf/2003_15.pdf). The findings indicate a fundamental shift in patient-doctor relationship away from an authoritarian and paternalistic model toward partner and team-based models. The definition of health is thus implied as something personal and controlled, rather than something defined entirely through physician and policy.

Saying that, though, most countries recognize the definition of health set forth by the World Health Organization (WHO):
"Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity" (Source: Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization as adopted by the International Health Conference, New York, 19-22 June, 1946; signed on 22 July 1946 by the representatives of 61 States (Official Records of the World Health Organization, no. 2, p. 100) and entered into force on 7 April 1948. Available [On-line] http://www.who.int/about/definition/en/).
For a fuller explanation of this definition see page 3 on the site http://www.frcentre.net/library/HealthPromotionFAQ.pdf

Specific definitions, such as reproductive health also exit in healthcare. Refer to site http://www.who.int/docstore/bulletin/pdf/2002/bul-5-E-2002/80(5)407-409.pdf for an internationally recognized definition of reproductive health and the reasons for the necessity of an international definition as opposed country-based definitions.

2. "What are the determinants of health in humans?"

Determinants of Health

After health has been defined, the concept of health has to be operationalized (i.e., in outcome measures) often in terms of the determinants that each society believes to be a risk to health. See #3 below for determinants of health used in a study in United States (see attached article for full details).

These health determinants are researched-based (i.e., data collected through surveys, form past research, etc.) and, then, through evidence-based decisions (from the date collected from the people in a society, such as the United States), health polices are developed to reflect these determinants of health. Various methods are used for collecting behavioural risk factor data. Data can either be collected through mail, telephone or face-to-face interviews. The most common and suitable method for most countries is to collect data through face-to-face interviews. Interviews are usually conducted using paper and pencil questionnaires, rather than laptop computers. Training and standardized guidelines assist countries in collecting sound self-report data consistently across interviewers.

Surveillance data on health determinants operationalizeed in terms of outcome measures (behavioral risk factors) are collected through adult population-based surveys. The sample should consist, at a minimum, of male and female adults, aged 18-64 years old. Wherever possible, countries can expand data collection in either direction--to include young adults down to age 15, and to include older adults over age 64. Further, data will be collected on adults living in private households in urban and rural areas. People living in institutions, such as military quarters, health institutions or prisons, are not be eligible for inclusion in general population surveys. Only one respondent per household will be randomly selected to be interviewed, and information will be collected through the administration of a questionnaire. Interviews will be conducted in the local language or most widely spoken languages in the country (Source: http://www.who.int/hpr/brfs/data.shtml)

As already pointed out, for an excellent example of how data is collected by the United States see attached example. Notice, that after the data collection stage, the data is then disseminated to the each US states. In turn, the US states use the data to:
ยท Develop strategic plans to determine priority health issues (i.e., health determinants) for ...

Solution Summary

This solution is comprised of a detailed discussion of different ways health can be conceptualized by a society. It includes a detailed discussion of the determinants of health in humans, the connection between how a society defines health and how it pursues health, and the connection between health policies, health determinants, and health. Supplemented with a relevant and supporting article.