When the Bough Breaks

I did very poorly on the health equity quiz.  I only got a few of the questions right.  I knew that the United States didn’t rank well on a lot of the topics but I was shocked at how low we ranked on most things.  The statistic that was most shocking to me was that Latino immigrants had the best overall health.  Since Latino immigrants are coming from a lower socioeconomic status you would assume that their overall health would be lower.

I chose “When the Bough Breaks”.  This video talked about the high rates of premature births among African American women.  The video talked about how, in general, someone with a higher socioeconomic status and a higher education tend to live longer and have fewer health problems.  Even African American women who had a high socioeconomic status and a higher education still had a higher risk of delivering a premature or low birth weight baby.  They came to the conclusion that racism plays a huge part in African American women delivering premature babies.  There is a two-fold risk of delivering a premature baby from those who experienced life-long racism.  Stress affects pregnancies in many different ways.  Racism is an add-on stressor.  Stress hormones can make labor begin sooner, which increases the risk of delivering a premature baby.  The video talked about a solution to this problem.  They talked about how African American women need to be taken care of from the time they are born so that when they have a baby it won’t have as high of a risk of being delivered prematurely.  The main solution would be to eliminate the life-long stress of racism.

In the video, it was discussed that in the 1980s, the government began cutting back on social programs and that rate is still increasing today.  When we cut back on social programs that affects people with lower socioeconomic status.  People living in the environment of low socioeconomic status already have limited options when it comes to health care.  Taking away these programs eliminates the choice they have when it comes to treating certain health problems and diseases, such as receiving proper care before, during, and after pregnancy.  Not receiving proper health care increases the odds of certain cultures of just becoming another statistic for health problems. Some cultures are just more prone to certain environments and certain socioeconomic statuses, but when the government steps in and takes programs away, the vicious cycle of problems associated with low socioeconomic status will just continue.

1 thought on “When the Bough Breaks

  1. I would definitely agree that the best solution to this problem would be the elimination of racism and the stress that it creates. However, solving racism is a process that has taken thousands of years and will continue to take time, despite the need for social reform. For that reason I would propose methods of stress control, rather than stress prevention. Medical systems should begin warning expecting mothers of African American descent of their risks, explaining the possible effects stress could have on their unborn children. The government should instill programs in communities that work to reduce stress of pregnant mothers. Some activities could include yoga, daily walks through the park, or meditation. This solution would be political (through the use of government), individual (mothers would have to be proactive about pre-natal care), and biological (activities would work to control stress). The benefits of this solution can be seen in the decreased stress of the mothers. However, this program does not address the base of the problem, which is the effect of racism on health. Overall, the problem of premature or low birth-weight babies will not be solved if action is not taken against racism. Social constructs like this that affect the health of American citizens should be the problem of the US government. As the governing body of our nation, they hold responsibility for the actions of citizens (including racism and its effects).

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