Canada Vs the United States: Social Determinants of Health

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This paper examines data on life expectancy, focusing on income, childhood poverty, health literacy, housing, food security, stress, and depression in Canada and the United States. Moreover, the main objective of this assignment is to analyze how these social determinants of health reside in different levels of the social health ecology model. Furthermore, this paper also evaluates statistical data drawing from the causal Continuum Model on school-aged children who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, single-parent households, high-school drop-outs, and the college-educated population in the city of Davis, California. Through focusing on analyzing these populations, this paper will analyze the factors that contribute to the overall health of the city’s population. Overall, the United States shows higher negative rates compared to Canada in all the topics presented in this statistical analysis of social determinants of health. Moreover, the city of Davis shows positive statistical social determinants of health that can positively influence the well-being of the residents.

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Canada vs. the United States Social Determinants of Health

Firstly, life expectancy by income (low-income vs. high income) has a gap of 3.7% for men and 3.2% for women in Canada. Moreover, the life expectancy gap in the United States is 15 years for men and 10.3% for women . This topic resides in all levels of the ecological model because of life expectancy influenced by psychological well-being (intrapersonal), home (interpersonal), work conditions (organizational), social class (community), and education . According to the video “Social Determinant of Health,” childhood poverty in Canada ranks 12th out of 35 in childhood poverty industrialized nations. I conducted literature research and found that the rate of childhood poverty in the United States is 29.4% vs. 22.2% in Canada . This topic resides in the social class and built environment of the community level and economics and educational categories of the Societal level of the social ecology of health model . Childhood poverty is a difficult cycle to break, as children born in precarious conditions overall face more struggles at all levels of the ecology model. According to the Working Poor Family Project, “The latest U.S. Census data shows that three out of every 10 working families were low-income in 2016” .

Subsequently, health literacy in the United States is 22%  vs. 55% in Canada . This may be related to the fact that Canada has a universal health care system, which the United States lacks. This topic resides in the educational and health facilities branches of the society level in the ecological model , as the result of a deficient educational system and the lack of health insurance availability for citizens in the United States. Besides, 66% of Canadians have a full-time job  vs. 47% of adults in the United States . This topic resides in the work branch of the organization level and the economics branch of the society level . A weak job market and lack of well-paying jobs makes it hard for people to find and hold full-time jobs that enable a high standard of living . While in Canada, rates of affordable housing is 20% , U.S. citizens are spending 30% or more of their income on housing. As a result, 552.830 people were homeless in 2018 . This topic resides in the social class branch of the community level and the government policy branch of the society level of the ecology model . For example, the lack of regulations on rent prices and high taxes on single-family homes lead to unaffordable housing and homelessness.

Finally, 10% of Canadian households were food insecure  vs. 11.1% of households in the United States . This topic resides in the community and society level of the social ecology health model due to the lack of availability and access to fresh products in some communities, as well as the lack of policies in place to provide more accessibility and resources to citizens. For example, starting in April 2020, stricter work requirements apply to non-disabled adults without dependents. Moreover, the anxiety rate is 18.1%, and depression occurs at a 6.7% clip among adults in the United States (Anxiety &Depression Association of America . This topic resides in the intrapersonal (genetics, and behavior) and interpersonal level (home and family) of the ecology model .

Statistical analysis of the Causal Continuum Model in Davis, California.

Some of the social determinants of health in the city of Davis are single-parent households 25.60% , school-aged children who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches:51.8%, high-school drop-outs:1.9%  and college-educated population: 75.2% . These rates are the reflection of a wealthy city with plenty of resources: low single-parent household, low-high school drop-outs, and high college-educated population. These statistics contribute to a positive environment and buffer to the overall well-being of Davis residents. Davis is a college town, taking into consideration the distal level of the causal continuum model. Well-established social structure policies and demographic features serve as buffers for high rates of college-educated population and low high school drop-out rates. Some examples of these programs are teacher aides and free after-school programs that help students with homework. The only statistic that may not be an accurate reflection of this town is the free lunches statistics. Davis school district policies allow children from other towns to attend local public schools in Davis. This means that the free or reduced-price lunch statistics include incomes from households from other nearby low-income cities.

Moreover, Davis has a community hospital, urgent care clinics, family practice clinics, and walk-in clinics all over the town. UC Davis provides accessible health care to all the students, meaning that because this is a college town, the majority of the citizens have good accessibility to the health care system (intermediate level of the Causal Continuum Model). 

As a result of all these available policies and resources, we can infer that the majority of Davis residents have a positive environment that lead to positive beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes.

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