In Sickness and in Wealth

I did okay on the Health Equity Quiz.  I got seven questions out of ten correct.  I found it surprising that the United States went from top five in life expectancy to 29th in 50 years.  You would think that life expectancy would continue to get better not worse.  I also thought it was interesting that Latino immigrants though poorer, have better health than the average American, but then just being here for five years causes their health to decline.

The” In Sickness and in Wealth” episode discussed the relationship between health and wealth.  It showed a little bit of the lives of a CEO, an unemployed mother, a janitor, and a lab supervisor in Louisville Kentucky trying to demonstrate how class affects peoples’ health.  They said there is a health-wealth gradient that showed there is a 3-5 year life expectancy difference between the rich and middle classes, and a ten year difference between the rich and people at or below the poverty line.  This pattern is similar for the occurrence of different diseases as well.  They discussed the factors associated with poor health like education, diet, environmental hazards, unsafe living conditions, and lack of control over work and schedule.  According to the video all of these things tied back to wealth and are all “inextricably intertwined”.

Politics, economics, environment, culture, biology and individual choice are all very connected when it comes to illness.  Politics and government can lead to the development, spread, and or treatment of illness. According to the video, the gap in wealth leads to issues with health and they, “arise as a result of policies or the absence of policies that create these enormous inequalities and resources.” And policies in other countries have helped bridge the wealth gap.  For example, they mentioned Ireland having free college education and how education is one of the factors affecting health.  Individual choices can lead to illnesses like smoking, or they can help prevent illness like good diet and exercise.  Hazardous environments can easily cause and spread illness, like poor water quality.  And as we learned last week culture can determine the types of treatment someone will choose.

arise as a result of policies or
the absence of policies that create these enormous inequalities and resources

When the Bough Breaks

I did not do as good on the quiz as I thought I would I got a 5/10. They were a couple of statistics that were surprising to me. First is the American life expectancy being 29th in the nation I knew we weren’t number one (had a feeling Japan or China would be first) but 29th never crossed my mind. Second was the average life expectancy between countries in the USA is 15 years I was thinking along the lines of five years. Third was the question about the parking space difference in predominately white neighborhood and Black and Latino neighborhood. Though something like these never crossed my mind but knowing the information now it’s shocking. Last was a surprising statistic at first but when I really thought about it made sense is the best factor for health is wealth.  When you have money it’s easier for you stay health since you can afford it.

When the bough breaks is an episode which scrutinizes the phenomenon that African American women normally are significantly more likely to give birth to premature babies or have babies that are low in weight than white. Two neonatologists talk about how exposure to racism can have a factor on health. Even when factors like income and education are the same African American still give birth prematurely or have low weight babies. This episode shows and example of African American woman is a successful woman in good health but still had her baby two and a half months early.

Politics, economics, environment, culture, biology and individual choice influence the development can help the blowout and treatment of illness. In when the bough breaks talks about have racism is the reason African American woman have premature or low birth weights babies. In the USA we did not have universal health care as in other countries they do I believe politics play a major role in it. Since we don’t have universal health is harder for people who cannot afford healthcare and don’t qualify for Medicaid or Medicare to go to the doctor to get better. Some cultures believe don’t believe in going to a doctor to get help them have their own way to treat it. This also goes hand and hand with an individual’s choice not to receive care for the treatment of their illness.

Not Just A Paycheck

I managed to get 7 out of 10 on the Health Equity quiz, which was not much of a surprise.The only question that actually stuck out to me was question regarding recent Latino immigrants. That they have better health than us is not really surprising, but it does point to the larger issue of poor health in a very affluent culture. If people are coming to our country to improve their lives, their health should improve along with other aspects of their life. Our affluence and culture are the very things that are worsening the citizens’ health.

                Not Just a Paycheck was a look at the effects of an event (corporation shutting down a plant) that causes the loss of multitudes of jobs and how the community is effected in regards to their health. This case showed how the town Greensville, MI was adversely affected after the shutdown of the Electrolux plant. The plant was moved down to Juarez, Mexico, and a large portion of the population in Greensville became unemployed. This created tensions that had serious health risks, not only for the unemployed workers, but their families as well. The additional stress causes health issues such as depression, gastrointestinal issues, and cardiac problems. These workers are then compared to the wealthy that live in the surrounding region. These people unsurprisingly show very little of this stress and have access to better health care in general. The workers are also compared to their counter parts in Sweden who have undergone a similar circumstance, but do not show these adverse health effects. The program examines the differences in support that the workers in Sweden gain from the corporation and government programs and eventually suggests that this aid has a tremendous impact on the health of workers. Basically it summarizes that if the population in Greensville, MI had received the same type of aid, they would not have suffered as many health related issues from the closure of the Electrolux plant.

                Politics, economics, environment, culture, biology and individual choice all have an enormous influence on the development, spread and treatment of illness. You culture and politics effect what you perceive as illness, where your environment, political situation, economic situation, cultural ideas, biological issues and individual choices all help to determine how you react to and treat illness. These reactions can determine if an illness spreads or if it is contained and treated.

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.

“Place Matters”

I scored an 8 out of 10 on the Health Equity Quiz. I was most
surprised by recent Latino immigrants having the best overall health in the
U.S. A large number of Latino immigrants are coming from difficult
socioeconomic conditions with aspirations of improving their lives and the
lives of loved ones. However, according to this study, their overall health is
being undeniably diminished. The longer they are in the U.S., the worse off
their health becomes.

In “Place Matters”, Richmond, CA is analyzed. Richmond is a town
that was at one point booming due to World War production and manufacturing.  The war created a surplus of jobs and opportunity. After the war however, those jobs left and so did the abundance of opportunity. The overall quality of living greatly decreased.  The availability of healthy foods became almost non-existent with essentially liquor stores and fast food chains being the sole source of “nutrition”. This directly correlated to high rates of heart disease and cancer rates. Violence and crime rates also increased well over national averages. The stress of not feeling safe to even walk outside in your
own neighborhood can have an immeasurable effect on your health. Towards the
end of the film, the town of High Point was analyzed. High Point had similar
conditions to Richmond. However, High Point was able to obtain federal grants
to essentially rebuild the community. New housing, public libraries, community
centers and fresh produce gardens were just a few things implemented that
greatly increased the overall health and quality of life in the community. In
summary, your environment is one of the most important, if not the most
important, determinants of overall health.

Politics greatly affect the illness realm. Public policies can
make the difference and improve or squander the overall health of communities.
In terms of economics, having wealth allows an individual to acquire adequate
treatment and healthcare. Economics also determines what you have access to in
determining the environment in which you live. Culture can also determine what
is or isn’t an illness and what is acceptable in terms of treatment. Biology,
which to me points towards genetics, will predispose you to certain illnesses
and affect your body’s overall ability to combat. If you make healthy
individual choices you can increase the likelihood of having good health.

Not Just a Paycheck

On the Health Equity Quiz I only got a 3/10! I was surprised by many of the statistics but some of the most surprising to me was that we spend two and a half times as much money per person on health care than other industrialized nations, yet American life expectancy is in 29th place compared to other countries. The case study I chose to summarize is the episode “Not Just a Paycheck.” As you might be able to decipher from the title, the episode discusses the turmoil that things like job loss and globalization can have on the health of Americans. Specifically, the example of the Electrolux Corporation, formally in Greenville, Michigan, that closed in 2006. The factory moved to Mexico in order to save money on salaries and maximize company profits. This meant job loss for many people that relied on their job to support themselves, and maybe families, which can lead to great stress and many health problems, some of which may be due to increases in stress hormones in the body. Some of these issues include conditions like depression, anxiety, gastrointestinal issues, and cardiac issues. The episode even tells us that “in 2004 this local hospital treated 80 cases of depression, attempted suicide, and domestic abuse. In the year following the Electrolux closing, that caseload nearly tripled.” Continuing on, we are also told that, “Where you stand on the economic ladder is a good predictor of health.” This is because “wealthy Americans have more options, resources, and power” when it comes to health. This fact, overall, helps further the point that unemployment, which can lead to being “un- wealthy” can have an negative effect on health.

Politics, economics, environment, culture, biology, and individual choice all influence the development, spread, and treatment of illness. Politics and economics can play a role in illness by controlling things like who receives health care and vaccines. Culture plays a role by influencing life styles and how people react to illness. Biology plays a role because illnessses are developed and spread biologically, and biology is also required for finding a treatment. Finally, individual choice plays a large roll because people chose for themselves the way they want to live and deal with illnesses. A person’s lifestlye has great affect on their health, and how they respond to illness.



Not Just a Paycheck. Unnatural Causes. NACCHO, 2008. Web. 13 July 2012. <>.

When the Bough Breaks

I passed the Health Equity Quiz with a modest 1.0 grade after guessing six of the ten questions correctly.  I found it to be a very interesting quiz but the question I found surprising was the question about life expectancy of African American males living in Harlem.  I could not believe that people in Bangladesh have a better chance at reaching the age of 65 than African American males in Harlem!  That really shows how socioeconomic status in America effects health.  It also shows how America perceives the worth of people living in Harlem by not doing anything to improve their conditions and keeping silent about their situation.

The video “When the Bough Breaks” explains how the chronic stress that is associated with racism raises the infant mortality rate amongst African American women.  African American’s have a much higher infant mortality rate than any other race in America.  The video states that the unequal treatment of African Americans in America accounts for the low birth weights and premature deaths.  What is unusual is that raising the socioeconomic status of an individual does not improve the chances of giving birth of a healthy child.  The infant mortality rate for African Americans with a college education is 10.2 per 1,000 births.  The infant mortality rate for European Americans is only 3.7 per 1,000 births.  College educated African Americans have a higher infant mortality rate than European Americans without a high school diploma which is currently at 9.9 per 1,000 births.

The video claims the reason for this is the stress that is induced through racism.  This chronic stress causes health problems for the mother as well as the baby through the bodies stress hormones.  These stress hormones can reduce blood flow to the placenta which can induce labor or damage the baby’s organs.  The video calls the chronic stress of an African American “Live Course Perspective.”

How politics, economics, environment, culture, biology and individual choice influence the development, spread and treatment of illness is a huge question.  First off, as we see above racism within a culture can have large impacts on people health and infant mortality rate.  Sadly many of these racist ideals can spread into politics and racist policies make it harder for minorities to obtain adequate health care and medication.  These same racist ideals can also work their way into environmental policies by placing factories and sewage treatment plants into neighborhoods occupied by minorities and thus reduce health by polluting the air and water.  In America where health has been turned into a commodity people who do not have the economic means to pay for their healthcare either do not receive healthcare or receive a inadequate level of healthcare which negatively effects their overall health.  Low income areas tend to have more fast food restaurants and bars than any other area in town.  This possibly racist zoning leads residents into making poor choices in eating and drinking thus leading them to poor health.

Bad Sugars

I scored a 5/10 on the health equity quiz. I’m not too terribly disappointed with this score, as I got the first four or so wrong and was expecting to bomb them all. As it turned out, the later concepts I was more familiar with. I was definitely surprised with the first statistic, that the US is placed 29th for life expectancy. There are senior water aerobics at the pool I work at, with plenty of seniors well into their nineties. I guess I didn’t consider that this is coming from a stable middle class population. I wasn’t surprised that Japan has the highest life expectancy, based on the limited knowledge I have of their culture.

In “Bad Sugars”, the alarming prevalence of Type II Diabetes among the O’odham and Pima Native Americans of Arizona is discussed. Research has found that diabetes rates are almost double in minority populations that historically have been ripped from their roots and caused excessive stress. Stress hormones increase blood sugar, and elevated glucose levels can block small blood vessels resulting in blindness, kidney failure, and amputation. The damming of Arizona rivers in the 1920s, such as the Gila, depleted the water source that these communities relied on, forcing them into poverty and a diet devastating for diabetes. Living below the poverty line has shown to be a major cause of diabetes, but luckily a new water preservation act is giving them their livelihood back.

Diabetes is a good example of how politics, economics, environment, culture, biology and individual choice influence the development, spread and treatment of illness. Political actions such as the damming of rivers (and likewise the effect of the environment) can determine the economic status of an individual and if they are more likely to live in poverty. Under these pressures, cultures may transition from a healthy diet to a poor diet as a result of their new limited means. Regardless of this, individuals may also be genetically predisposed for a disease or simply choose not to take care of themselves. Economic status and personal choice also plays a large role in whether or not a disease is treated. Culturally, diseases like Type II Diabetes may be regarded as simply “bad sugars” and a way of life, further impeding effective treatment. There are many factors involving Type II Diabetes, but those groups exposed to high stress and low income are the most susceptible.

In Sickness and in Wealth

I did pretty decent on the Health Equity quiz, but I was also pretty surprised by it as well. I ended up getting a 7/10, which wasn’t too bad. I definitely didn’t expect the quiz to be as economical or as political as it was, but I was able to at least make educated guesses for most of the questions. For the questions I did get wrong I was really interested in learning the correct answers. The fact that I was most interested in and that completely took me off guard was about new immigrants being the healthiest of all people in the United States. I had no idea that was true, and I would have definitely though that it would a wealthy U.S. Citizen or something like that.


The case study that I chose was “In Sickness and in Wealth”. The study showed the lives of four families living in very different social and economic situations. The video does a pretty good job of showing the vast differences in health in all of the situations. It didn’t surprise me that the family with the highest status had the highest level of health. They were able to eat healthy, fresh foods. They could relax, exercise, and take vacations. All of the reasons help this group achieve the highest life expectancy. As the socioeconomic class went lower, the video showed that their life expectancy would drop as well. These classes might not have the same access to foods and health care that the higher classes might have. Another possible reason is that higher classes are usually spaced out more as far as their living situation. Lower classes might be in apartments or slums that are very close to each other, which would spread disease easier.


Politics, economics, environment, culture, biology and choice all have a part in the development, spread and treatment of illness. As I mentioned disease spreads much easier among lower classes that are grouped very close together, and lower economic classes have less access to health care. Politics can affect who gets what level of health care. Culture can determine how common regular health practices are or if it is “normal” to see any kind of medical professional versus a medicine man. And then of course individual choice has a part to play because we are all on some level responsible for what we do with our bodies.


When the Bough Breaks

I got a 4/10 on the Health Equity Quiz, and I found that despite the U.S. being a strong economic power they were only ranked 29th for the world life expectancy. I originally checked the top ten, but was completely surprised to see it wasn’t close at all.

The main question was posed, why were black American babies born twice as small and prematurely in comparison to white American babies. Even more shockingly, expecting black mothers, who were college graduates, had three times the higher infant mortality rate than white mothers that were high school drop outs. With that statistic in mind, genetics doesn’t seem to play a big role in answering this question, and so an even deeper question is asked. Does the mother’s social race affect the life of the infant that she bears?

Many people believe racism is a thing of the past, but racial inequality and discrimination occur everyday in the U.S.. Even more so with women, and the significant find in the study was how black American women internalized racism in comparison to white American women. In Black women, 50% thought about racism at lease once or more a day, and 21% think about it constantly in comparison to 50% of white women who never think about it. As an expecting mother, and to be put on with this sort of chronic stress and anxiety releases extra stress hormones thus labor begins a lot sooner than expected.

It’s not easy being a double minority in any society, where you not only have to face the social stigmas of your race but your gender. All Black Americans at all income levels are more denied in mortgages, pay more for automobiles, and offered less job interviews than other racial groups. On top of that, it’s the everyday encounters of racism that make each individual’s experience more clear that social racism still exists. Making these experiences that much more vivid and recallable such in the case of Kim Anderson. To ever feel like a second class citizen is a completely degrading feeling, and it’s not an understandable feeling until one goes through it personally. Politically, these ideas have historical roots from segregation laws. With those policies, it seems that much of the chronic stress felt by Black American women stem from the still ongoing but silent thoughts of people’s predisposed beliefs.

One study showed that 70% of Americans believe racism as a part of the past. So is it ironic that many believe racism is a thing of the past, when it occurs everyday and in this case to the point of inducing early child birth. The historically charged ideas of the past seem to continuously resurface. Can this illness be rooted specifically from racism in all cases? No. However, it seems considering the factors and the variables that were tested, cumulative stress for a woman and more specifically black American women can strongly affect the baby and the mother.

It could also be true, that maybe by even watching this short documentary, you could be more conscious of how racism effects your mental psyche and your everyday stress levels. Thus, having more of an effect on you than before. It’s a funny thing, how much aware your mind can be when certain things are put in front of you.