Becoming American!

Although I only scored a 50% on the Health Equity Quiz, I knew the general area of what the quiz was asking, so I’m going to say I got a solid 70% on it instead. The statistic that I found most surprising was that the United States was in the top 5 countries in the world in average life expectancy around 50 years ago, but fell to 29th as of recently. The quiz stated that during those 50 years, instead of evolving as a country to make us all wealthier, the rich just got richer while the poor stayed poor in the United States. Meanwhile the rest of the countries were prospering throughout their social class, instead of just having the “baby boomers” take charge.

In the video “Becoming American”, it described how American’s actually have worse health than newly immigrated, poor Latinos. You would think that a poor person from, say, Mexico would be sick and and unhealthy to be around, but doctor Steve Larson worked with several thousands of Mexican patients, and found out that most of them were young, healthy people. Immigrant Latinos in the Kennan-Square Mexican community actually had the best health of anybody in the county by far, with the lowest rates of death, heart disease, and most other major health killers.

However, the longer an immigrant stayed in the United States and becomes “more American”, they are more likely to have higher blood pressure, become more obese, diabetes and heart disease than when they first arrived. A non-genetic factor that could play a part on this the stress put on Hispanic immigrants. In Mexico they had a very family oriented environment, but in America they all must work many hours to try to achieve the “American dream” and move up in social class. They also may change their diet to consume more readily available fast food, which can play a part in the increase in their number of cases of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease the longer they stay in America.

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  1. Kelly Zielinski says:

    Hello Brannden. Good points on the video about Becoming American. I also thought that it was interesting that the young Latinos were healthier than the Americans here. Although five years is an decent amount of time, to consider that it only takes five years to destroy someone’s life long health is pretty astounding.
    The busy lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits are indeed problematic. But what can be done to alleviate these issues?
    I believe that these issues all stem from our free commerce way of business. Although the concept is what this country is based off of, it has become to easy to purchase things using credit, that our economy is ran by marketing campaigns and the dream to live a lifestyle that is not feasible for the vast majority of the country. With the dream comes the purchasing and the demand, which in turns creates the ability to raise prices of items to the point that people will go into debt in order to possess them. I do not believe that this is a medical problem or government issue, and the constant tail chase for more “things” creates the need to work more to afford more and the stress of never stopping. When busy, the fast food is easy and combined with the build up of daily financial stressors that a persons health can and does deteriorate at a rapid pace.
    The only aspect that I do believe is able to be regulated by the government is the stress of immigration for these folks. The stress of coming to the US and sending money back to support family back home, or saving up enough to bring the rest of the family to the US can be a huge stress for someone and can add to the stresses that are ingrown into our culture already. Although I do not know enough about this topic to state how the policies should be changed, I’m simply stating that a change in them may in fact help reduce the stress of migrating for these immigrants.

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