Is Scotland’s Health Different from the Rest of the UK - and Why?
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This chapter provides evidence for, and explores reasons why, understanding the poor nature
of public health in Scotland is vital to understanding sexual health. As Chair of the Expert Reference
Group that devised the first national sexual health strategy for Scotland, and an expert on public health,
Professor Hanlon's synthesis illuminates the relationships between inequalities and poor health
outcomes, and provides a convincing link to modernity, where norms around consumption and
gratification have extremely negative results for individuals and society.
The chapter investigates Scotland's poor health status in comparison with the rest of the UK, and
provides population data concerning morbidity and mortality to demonstrate this. Explaining that social
and economic deprivation, coupled with the collective and individual experience of postindustrialisation,
is often perceived as the main cause for Scotland's poor health, the author proposes that
an additional and increasing excess mortality in Scotland, known as the Scottish effect, exists beyond
these explanations. This effect is still not fully understood, and other possible contributory factors such
as the environment, weather conditions and culture and social mores are discussed. Culture is discussed
in detail as an important component of health and wellbeing, and one that may well have a critical impact
on individual and collective health experiences. The chapter concludes by saying that it is essential to
adopt a multi-disciplinary approach to exploring and investigating the patterns of ill health in Scotland in
order to understand and address them further.
University of Glasgow.