Bad Sugar

I did fairly well on the Health Equity Quiz. I think the most surprising statistic was that the best predictor for one’s health is whether or not you’re wealthy. The predictor is based on rankings within the class pyramid. Granted I realize that being at the top of the pyramid helps you to have access to resources and treatments and so on, but I did not think that wealth would be the number one predictor when examining influences on health. I would have thought that exercise or diet would have had a larger impact on one’s health.

The case study I chose was “Bad Sugar.” It focused on the Pima Indians and the Native American populations in Arizona.  These populations had been fighting for their rights to water for centuries. The diversion of water from the Gila River by dams benefited ranchers, farmers, white settlers and miners. Because of the reduced access to water, the crops and lifestyles of the individuals within the communities downstream suffered.  The ability to access water affected their economies, their cultures, their health, and their lifestyle. According to the video, some communities have as many as 50% of their adults diagnosed with Type II Diabetes.  This case study showed that the presence of Type II Diabetes was more popular in households with lower incomes, poorer diets, and little exercise.

The diversion of water would be a non-genetic factor that contributed to the health status of the Pima Indians.  After the constructing of the dams, the U.S. military began distributing commodity foods to the Native Americans. The problem with this food was that it was mostly artificial, canned food with poor nutrition value. The military wasn’t distributing healthy, fresh produce until about 1996. By this time, the Native Americans diet was already extremely poor. It was now rooted into their culture and their daily lifestyle. The poor diet and the little exercise increased their chances vastly for obtaining Type II Diabetes.

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