Why Health Disparities Occur

Health, according to the World Health Organization, is “a condition of full physical, mental and emotional well-being and not just the absence of illness and disease.” Different definitions have been utilized over the years for different purposes. While some health is strictly psychological and mental, others such as nutritional health, medical health and even training health are considered to be part of the total equation. Being physically healthy means being properly nourished and functioning at optimum levels in all areas of life. Mental health is about the mind and attitude that one has toward health and well-being. One’s aptitude and how much time and energy they spend on living a healthy lifestyle are indicators of their mental health.


There are many economic factors that impact health and the ability to get the best quality of health care, and other factors such as quality of life that can affect a person’s health. In addition, there are social determinants of health. Some of these include social class, sex, and ethnicity. Health behaviors and attitudes also influence health, as well as the likelihood of acquiring various health problems or illnesses.

The reasons for the discrepancies in health among different racial and ethnic groups are many, and they cannot be put down to any one thing. However, the factors that do exist, such as the gap in infant mortality rates, for example, have been shown to be exacerbated or caused by certain health behaviors and attitudes. Educational levels and family income also tend to differ by race and ethnicity. In addition, despite the belief of many people, poor health does not always lead to death; in fact, it can often be prevented through early detection and appropriate treatment.