How Social Background Affects Population Health

Aaminah Mohammad, Contributor

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Have you ever wondered how the world we live in is able to maintan population health? As many of you know, in underdeveloped countries and in the past, it was very common for a person to get infected wth an infectious disease. This could have been due to many factors including the fact that many people lived in unsanitary conditions, drinking contaminated water and eating contaminated food, while also  transmitting the disease to others in the population. As more and more people got infected and started infecting others the amount of people with the disease kept increasng. Because there was no way of preventing and maintaining this, the pathogen would continuously be spreading and sometimes resulting in epidemics and pandemics killng thousands and sometmes millons or billions of people. Now thanks to population health, when an outbreak occurs, public health officials are able to trace the source of an outbreak, as well as prevent and contain it from infecting others. However preventing a disease from spreading to others is public health, not population health.  Population health has been defined in a very broad way .

According to an article in the American Journal of Public health, population health has been defined as, “the health outcomes of a group of individuals, including the distribution of such outcomes within the group”.

It is an entirely different entity, but is often confused with public health, health promotion and social epidemiology. The focus in Population Health is on trying to understand the determinants of health of populations. The ultimate goal of a population health approach is to maintain and improve the overall health of the entire population, as well as to decrease inequalities in health between different groups of populations. One of its guiding principles is an increased focus on health outcomes, and comparing the change in outcomes attributable to the different prevention programs conducted by the population health officials.

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