BlessWorld Foundation International

Affecting the World Through Health
A Global Health Initiative

Factors that influence Health



If you asked a random person the tips to healthy living, you’re probably going to hear things like being physically active, not smoking, having a balanced diet, going for regular health checks and so on… of course, these are what we are constantly fed by the media. Healthy living as it turns out is more complicated than only these lifestyle modifications. It is easy to understand why we often talk about lifestyle modifications- it’s proactive, cost-friendly and the human mind naturally thinks of prevention. Using a sports case example: Why is a certain sports player so good? Probably because he practices a lot- however, there are other circumstances surrounding the individual such as having a good coach. So, just as having a good coach and other important advantages surround such an individual, there are other factors that surround and consequently influence healthy living- some of these are even more important than lifestyle modifications. Health is not just affected by what we do or don’t do; it is also influenced into our environment. For instance, no matter how many times you wash your hands, you are still more likely to suffer from COVID19 infection if you’re living in China because of the prevalence of the infection in that location. This is not to undermine the benefits of proper hand washing, staying physically active or practicing safer sex, but it’s high time we brought the other factors that influence health into limelight and address them:

  • Aboriginal status
  • Disability
  • Early life
  • Education
  • Employment and working conditions
  • Food insecurity
  • Health services
  • Gender and gender identity
  • Housing
  • Income and income distribution
  • Race
  • Sexual orientation
  • Social exclusion
  • Social safety net
  • Unemployment and job security

These factors are worthy to be addressed because of the health inequalities associated with them. Health is a universal human right and should not be treated like luxury or a mere commodity. Research has documented that people with disabilities are likely to be refused  care, blacks have shorter lifespan in countries like America and even Canada despite universal health coverage. These differences in health outcome are clearly due to differences in realities of daily life such as poor employment which leads to low income and poor housing.

Considering the preceding paragraphs, tackling poverty should definitely be a health priority! This is however very difficult because health inequality is rooted in the fundamental problem of different forms of inequality in human life. It is then left for world leaders and governments to determine what should be a right or privilege and what should be bought as a commodity. Given the importance of health, most developed nations are pushing for universal health care. Income is a better predictor of good health than any lifestyle modification; therefore, it makes sense that income redistribution policies would be a bold step in the right direction for any country that has the health of her citizens at heart. Additionally, education should be made accessible and available to all as it correlates with better income and also contributes to knowledge about ways of staying healthy.

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