chapter  6
15 Pages

Health and Social Policy: Nordic Welfarism

In the book aptly titled Why Are Some People Healthy and Others Are Not?, Hertzman et al. argue that the health status of populations is determined by the interaction of various factors such as “the features of the social and physical environment, the genetic endowment, and the learned biological and behavioral responses of individuals, and access to and responses of the health care system.”1 While this is not meant to be exhaustive, suffice it to say that a society’s health status is a function of the social climate, health-related behavioral and biological risk factors, general susceptibility, psychosocial factors, and the condition and characteristic of the physical environment. In the sense that “social climate shapes the behaviors of its individual, who in turn influence the environment,”2 it would be difficult to determine every direct causal pattern in the occurrence of all major disease categories. Hence, health policy is often made by way of generalizations based on hypothetical causal pathways or past precedents.