Health and its Social Determinants: A Study on Health Inequalities among Tabriz Citizens



Health is one of the most important needs of humans. Healthy people can perform social roles completely and in competition with others can obtain good positions. For this reason, attention to health and its distribution is one of the most interesting fields of investigation in sociology, because it is related to social justice and good governance in all societies. On the other hand, health inequalities exist in all societies and countries. New studies show that inequalities in health distribution are deepened in recent years among different groups of people inside countries, among poor and reach countries alike. These observations and scientific facts confronts sociologists with very important and basic question. What are the reasons of these health inequalities? After World War II, sociologists entered to medical institutions and universities and studied health problems in order to answer this important question. They stated that if health, illness and disease were entirely biological in origin then we would expect the incidence to be similar across geographical locations and social groupings. However this is not the case and the social patterns of health provides evidence that disease and illness do not affect all sectors of society equally.

Methods and Materials
This study examines the impact of social factors on health inequalities among residents of urban areas in the city of Tabriz. Environmental, social and economic variables are considered as independent variables. Presuming to affect the health status of people in the community. Therefore, specific attention is paid to people's health awareness, education, health literacy, social support and lifestyle along with other variables such as education, socio-economic status, work and living conditions. This study is an effort towards contribution of sociologists in research activities related to health inequalities among people. Sample size included 650 families, living in Tabriz. The research method is survey and citizens among 15-65 year old were eligible to enter in the study. The main research question is whether or not social factors can influence physical health outcomes, mental and individual perceptions of health status in Tabriz? Demographic factors and lifestyle considered as independent variables and their effects on health were examined using appropriate statistical methods. Health, as a dependent variable, was measured through SF36 questionnaire, which is known as a health related quality of life questionnaire. It has 8 dimensions, 4 of which are related to physical health, and 4 to mental health.

Discussion of Results and Conclusions
The results of this study showed that, compared to women, men have higher levels of health scores (75/7 vs. 71/5), and people with high education have health scores higher than those with law education. This research proved the effectiveness of health awareness, education, healthy lifestyle and social protection of citizens on increase of health level. Also, an indirect and powerful correlation was observed among age and health related quality of life. This result shows that aging is a very important variable in health status of people. Aged people have mental health problems in particular. On the other hand, there were very significant differences between men and women in mental health scores. Women have a very bad condition in this regard. The results of this study showed the importance of social factors in health inequalities among citizens. As a result, attention should be paid to social factors and attempts should be made to diminish social and economic inequalities and discriminations in society.