Being honest, I didn’t do too well on the health equity quiz. I believe i got a 4/10. I was shocked because I would think that our life expectancies would be ranked higher than 29th place, especially because on average the U.S. spends twice as much on health care per person than other countries do. I think this is because Americans as a whole have such high expectations for their nation, especially its health care system, that it’s such a shock to find out that the U.S. isn’t the country with the highest life expectancy. I think my poor grade came from me being naive about the quality of health in other countries.
The episode I watched was “Place Matters’ and in this episode they covered two cities: Richmond, California and High point, Seattle. This episode proved that where you come from and what you’re exposed to, such as violence, stress, and poor living conditions can really affect the health of an individual. In Richmond, a male resident is suffering from heart disease and had a major heart attack at a young age of 49. Events in his life and where he lives has a lot to do with his low health. When his daughter was 15, she was shot and killed in their doorway. Exposure to this kind of violence can have a physiological effect on residents of that neighborhood, especially children. Also, being constantly worried and stressed over bills has taken a physical toll on him. These stresses are due to him living in an impoverished area where he can’t make enough money to pay his bills. Heading north to High Point, Seattle, the low class neighborhood has received federal grants to improve the quality of living with the long term goal of increasing resident health. New houses were built and neighborhoods made more friendly and safe. The main thing here is the new houses. Before the grant, it was considered normal for children to have asthma from exposure to mold and dust particles. This would mean 2-3 thousand dollars being spent per year in emergency room bills per child. The new homes aimed to fix this, and after the renovation many children got sick less and the emergency bills declined.
These case studies prove that genetics aren’t the only thing related to health issues. Location and exposure to stress, worry, violence and poverty led to heart disease for the man in Richmond, while increased standard of living led to increased health in High Point, Seattle. Genetics aren’t the only thing one needs to look at while assessing health.