The chapter begins by discussing the deceivingly simple question, “why are some people healthy, and others not healthy?” To answer this question, Skolnik explains different determinants of an individual’s health, such as genetic makeup, sex, age, social and cultural issues, amount and extent of social support, environmental factors, education, individual health practices and behaviors, access to healthcare, and governmental control regarding health policies and programs. The influence “personal and inborn features”, as Skolnik describes them, have on individual health may seem fairly obvious at first . However, I also found it interesting to read about how Skolnik describes factors such as culture, social settings, and environment having an affect on individual health. The chapter then goes into examining different statistical health indicators, such as life expectancy, maternal mortality ratio, infant mortality rate, neonatal mortality rate, and child mortality rate. These analyses are deeply dependent on the individual health determinants discussed by Skolnik in the first chapter. I also found the graphics and figures to be very helpful with visualizing the statistical data.
The rest of the chapter deals with health related data regarding different countries, comparing both high and low income countries as well as different age groups and different demographics for these populations. I liked how Skolnik touched on not only the “10 leading causes of death” regarding different populations and age groups, but also demographics on risk factors, global health, and the burden of disease. I particularly liked the conclusiveness of Table 2-12 and found it very interesting to compare all this information side by side. Overall, I think Skolnik did an excellent job informing his readers of individual health determinants, indicators of health status, global burden of disease, and other statistical data regarding fertility and mortality rates for different countries around the world.
I was also very enlightened by Gonick’s comic. It reminded me of good ‘ole statistics class in high school, only I wish I would have learned about statistics via those comics (they would have made the class more interesting and easier to sit through…). It served as a nice review of simple data analysis topics such as regression lines, regression analysis, ANOVA, scatter plots, hypothesis testing, sum of squared errors, and multiple linear regression.