In Sickness and in Wealth

I received a score of 5/10 on the Health Activity Quiz.  As a Public Health student, most of the statistics presented, such as our worldwide life expectancy ranking, the amount
we spend on healthcare, the life expectancy difference between counties, and the amount of park space in different neighborhoods, didn’t surprise me because these are areas that are consistently covered.  The statistic that did surprise me was that non-native Latinos have a better health outcomes on average compared to other U.S. populations and that within 5 years of immigrating to the U.S., their health begins to deteriorate and gets to the level of low-income Americans.

The case study that I chose was In Sickness and in Wealth.  This case study looks at
research presented by scientists on how the health of an individual is largely determined by their income.  The study looks at the lives of a CEO, lab supervisor, janitor, and an unemployed mother that all live in different counties within Louisville, Kentucky.  We get a small glimpse into the lives of each individual to get an  nderstanding of what life is like from their perspective.  We learn that each individual’s life expectancy varies by each county, the CEO’s 2 years more than the national
average, the lab supervisor’s 4 years less than the CEO, the janitor’s 6 years less than the CEO, and the unemployed mother’s 9 years less than the CEO.  Throughout the case study, we are presented with results of various researchers studies.  One such study looked at how the health of an individual decreases as you go down the social hierarchy, such as from the CEO to the unemployed mother.  We were also given the results of a study that showed people who have less stress in their lives have lower
levels of the hormone cortisol and were therefore healthier compared to those
with more stressfully lives.

Politics and economics can play a role in how much income a person has, which has an influence on the environment and culture that they live in.  If that happens to be a
low-income environment, it can have negative biological affect on that person’s
health.  If a large number of people live in an unhealthy environment, it can result in an illness spreading more easily with treatment possibly not being an option due to their income status.

3 thoughts on “In Sickness and in Wealth

  1. The main issue brought forward in this episode is the health of Americans based on their wealth, or socioeconomic status. Those of high income will have more money to pay for health care, and live a better lifestyle, while those of lower class are left with out many resources. Although many efforts and changes would have to be made, I believe that more affordable health care would be the first step in the right direction. The poverty stricken populations in America can not gain access to health care, often live in “food desserts” with no place to get fresh, healthy food, and even suffer from more medical conditions due to their income level.
    An affordable health care plan would be a political/ economic solution to the problem. Government would have to take control in a way pretty similar to the way President Obama has done in recent times. I believe that the government should spend more time studying things such as food accessibility in different communities, and then bettering those that lack certain resources in order to improve overall health. I do not believe, however, that the government will just start doing these things on their own. A large step has been taken recently with health care, but until people stand up for themselves and their communities and demand better lifestlyle options, low income areas will continue to suffer.
    There can be many different pros and cons for this solution. Like many people already know, cons include where the government will get the money to fund health care plans and other things for Americans. This often comes in the form of tax on middle class Americans, which then makes them less happy. Pros of the solution include a better, more healthy America. Healthier food, more affordable health care, and overall less disease. I think that the pros greatly outweigh the cons and that as more Americans become informed of this situation, they will start demanding change.

  2. I found this case study to be very interesting because it shows the lives of people in different social hierarchies. It also shows how money can have such a huge effect on the lives of people everywhere. I didn’t choose to watch this video, but if it is based on people in the United States, it’s kind of sad that money is so powerful. I have a friend from Germany who can’t grasp how individualistic the United States is because Germany is the opposite. A solution to this problem would be to have the government provide universal health care. This would provide people from every hierarchy the opportunity to see physician when they really need it. It would also lower the amount of stress people face when they have to come up with money out of their pocket in order to pay for their medical bills. We know that stress is linked to many disparities as shown in the case study of When the Bough Breaks.
    I definitely think that my solution is political because the government must make the decision for this to be possible, and they have already started with their recent health care ruling. The pro to this choice is that everyone will have access to health care, but the con is that many people believe that it may raise taxes, and they’re not too happy about that.

  3. I think that this case study is one of the most relevant in American today. Any plausible solution would have to be political, maybe economical. The United States is the only developed country that does not have universal health care. The medical and health care companies turn a huge profit off the sick. As a country we spend twice as much on health care than other countries and receive a lower quality of care. One statistic states that half of all bankruptcies are due to medical bills. Offering a universal health care system would be the best solution to this problem. We also need to improve the quality of care that people are receiving. Many illnesses and deaths can be avoided if people could receive the care that they need to begin with. I myself try to avoid going to the doctor as much as possible because I want to avoid the bill that follows the visit. Americans are so focused on the cons of universal health care. They are worried about their taxes being raised, this, that, and the other. I would happily pay higher taxes if I could get the care I needed when I needed it. I think that a universal health care system would directly effect other issues within the United States; possibly lower rates of people on disability and welfare. Trade one tax for another.

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