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Biological Factors

Factors relating to the body that impact on health and wellbeing, such as genetics, body weight, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, birth weight


Sociocultural Factors

- Socioeconomic-status (income, education and occupation)
- Level of education
- Employment status - unemployment
- Social connection. and social exclusion
- Social isolation
- Cultural norms
- Access to health healthcare
- Early life experiences
- Food security


Environmental factors

- Geographical location
- Work environment
- Climate change and natural disasters
- Housing: physical condition


Body weight

High body weight is a leading contributor to a number of health conditions and other biological factors. The higher the body weight, the greater risk of health conditions such as:
- High blood cholesterol
- Impaired glucose regulation
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Arthritis
- Mental health conditions
- Some cancers (colorectal)

Measured with BMI


Blood pressure

Normal blood pressure is measured 120 over 80.
People with high blood pressure may be diagnosed with a condition called hypertension. This means the blood is unable to flow as easily through the blood vessels when compared to someone with normal blood pressure


Blood cholesterol

Cholesterol is an essential type of fat required by the body for a variety of processes. The body creates cholesterol in the lover; however most people consume additional cholesterol from animal products like full cream milk and fatty cuts of meat.

Low density lipoprotein (LDL) get stuck on the walls of the blood vessels causing a smaller space for blood to travel through resulting in plaque build up and hardening of the arteries known as atherosclerosis.


Glucose regulation

Glucose is the preferred fuel source for energy production in cells.

Food consumed - carbohydrates broken down into glucose - glucose in the bloodstream triggers release of insulin from pancreas, insulin is used to unlock the cell to allow glucose to be used for energy, in some people the cells become resistant to insulin which leads to impaired glucose regulation
This impaired glucose regulation can lead to type 2 diabetes.


Birth weight

Babies born with a low birth weight are more likely to suffer a range of health conditions during infancy and have been linked to increased health concerns later in life.

Low birth weight = under 2.5kg

Low birth weight = underdeveloped immune systems (suffer infections), premature death, speech and learning liabilities, in adulthood: high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, CVD



Some conditions are carried in either male or female genes (e.g. prostate cancer in males and cervical cancer in females).

High levels of testosterone in males has been linked to increased risk taking behaviours which can contribute to higher rates of injury and premature death in males than females

Males are more likely to store body weight around their abdomen which increases risk of CVD, compared to women who tend to store more weight on their hips and thighs.

Some people are more likely to suffer particular conditions due to a genetic predisposition or family history e.g. some types of cancers, obesity, depression, diabetes, CVD.


Access to healthcare

From a sociocultural perspective, there are a number of factors that may influence or restrict the likelihood of someone accessing healthcare.

Cultural barriers, such as language barriers, religious beliefs and understanding Western medicine for example can mean some population groups are less likely to access healthcare than other groups, e.g. Indigenous Australians.

Financial barriers can also restrict peoples ability to access some types of healthcare including private health insurance and dental care.

Lack of access to healthcare: premature death, treatable conditions go undiagnosed, higher mortality from treatable conditions.


Food security

Food security refers to the state in which all people can obtain nutritionally adequate, culturally appropriate, safe food regularly through local non-emergency sources.
From a socio-cultural perspective, food insecurity occurs when people are unable to access adequate food sources due to factors such as low income and lack of knowledge (health literacy).
Low incomes may mean people are reliant on cheaper, processed foods which tend to be high in salt, fat and sugar and contribute to diet-related diseases.
Lack of knowledge regarding the importance of consuming a healthy, balanced diet can mean people are more likely to consume processed, energy-dense foods, also contributing to diet-related disease.


Socioeconomic status

Income + Occupation + Education = Socioeconomic status

Income = increased access to nutritious food, health care, education, recreation

Occupation = (type of job) = exposure to manual labour, injuries, hazards for lower SES

Education = higher education increased health literacy, as well as higher paying jobs (income).


Social exclusion and social isolation

Social exclusion is the segregation that people experience if they are not adequately participating in the society in which they live. People with mental health issues, disability, poverty and homelessness are more likely to suffer social exclusion.

Social isolation refers to individuals who are not in regular contact with others. This is often a result of geographical barriers which limit peoples ability to interact with other people.

Social exclusion and isolation = mental health conditions, substance abuse, suicide and self harm and stress



Unemployment has a clear link to decreased health outcomes. Unemployment may be short or long term and the impacts on health can be varied.

Unemployment = increased stress and anxiety, suicide and self harm, CVD, mental health conditions


Early life experiences

The behaviours of pregnant mothers can have an impact on the future health of their unborn child. Maternal smoking, drug use and poor nutrition can impact health during infancy and throughout adulthood.

Maternal smoking, drug use and poor nutrition = low birth weight, higher risk of diabetes later in life, poorer immune system (more risk of infection), greater likelihood of death in childhood and higher risk of CVD later in life.


Cultural factors

Culturally, here are some common gender stereotypes which influence how males and females care for their health. Males tend to have the cultural pressure to uphold a 'macho image'; this often results in them being less likely to access healthcare or acknowledge health issues.

Some Aussie stereotypes can impact heath negatively e.g. the 'bronzed aussie' stereotype has resulted in high rates of melanoma skin cancer. Alcohol consumption rates in Australia are high as it is seen as part of the Australian lifestyle; this can account for high rates of injuries, kidney disease and obesity related conditions.

Access to healthcare, as referenced earlier; due to cultural barriers, such as a language or understanding of Western medicine, some individuals may be less likely to access healthcare.