When the Bough Breaks

I didn’t do so well on the health equity quiz, even though I’ve seen those statistics before in other classes that I’ve taken. I ended up getting 6/10. The statistic that I always find to be the most surprising in where the United States rates in life expectancy compared to other countries. People think that because the U.S. is such a developed country and we supposedly have all this great technology that we would be higher on the list than number 29.

When the Bough Breaks is about the premature births among African American women. It tells the story of a woman named Kim Richards who is a well educated, middle class, African American woman who’s daughter was born two and half months early. It tries to determine what factors could cause a pre term birth even though she exercised, ate right, and received good prenatal care. Two doctors did studies and found out that the underlying cause of these pre term births among African American women was racism. They say that it puts a lot of stress on women throughout their whole life and stress can lead to major problems in pregnancy. These doctors say that even though an African American woman may be economically stable and healthy, racism can override these things to cause the stress. They believe that chronic stress is the underlying cause.

Many things can lead to illness including politics, environment, and culture. If you live in a country that provides universal health care there is a better chance for you and your family to receive the specific care that you need. This also leads to less stress of having to worry about saving money for your child or other family member to see a doctor. Where you live also can affect the amount of care you receive. Whether you live in a rural part of the United States or a rural part of Africa, you still need to have transportation to get to the doctor or nearest clinic. Many people cannot afford to even physically get to the doctor. Also, many cultures do not believe in western medicine and may refuse medication or treatment from their physician. Also, some cultures find it shameful to admit you have a problem so this makes it difficult for someone to talk to a psychiatrist when they know their family will not agree with their choice to do so.

1 thought on “When the Bough Breaks

  1. Unfortunately, there are not a whole lot of ways to alleviate this health problem if it is due to stress caused by racism.
    The only real way to completely eliminate stress caused by racism is for racism to be eliminated, which would be both a political solution and an individual solution. Everyone in the world would be responsible for this by letting go of racism and helping others to stop being racist, but the governments would be responsible for educating the public about the faults of racism. The pros would be that racism would be eliminated from the world. The cons are that there is no viable way to do this, we cannot just inflict our beliefs on other people, or take their beliefs away from them, no matter how wrong we may think they are. We could try to educate people, to make them see that “race” is a social construct and that all the so called “races” are equal, but there would still be people holding on to their beliefs.
    Since we cannot eliminate the racism that causes stress, we could try to treat the stress itself that causes the health problems such as pre-mature birth. Stress can be treated both physically and mentally. The women that are pregnant could be treated for their stress, and support from friends and families could help them reduce their stress so that it would not affect them as greatly. This would really be more of an individual approach; individuals would have to seek treatment for their stress in order to not be physically affected by it. The pros of this would that these women would be less likely to give birth pre-maturely. The cons would be that the cause of the problem would not be eliminated (racism), the affects of it would just be treated.

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