Becoming American

On the Health Equity quiz, I got a score of 2/10. Many of the correct answers surprised me, but the statistics that shocked me the most were that recent Latino immigrants have better health than the average American (no matter what their race) and that the increase in life expectancy in recent years was not due to advances in medical care, but from social changes that improved people’s lives. This just solidifies the idea that health and illness are about more than just germs and genetics, but also social classes, society, and money.

In the case study “Becoming American”, it talked about how new Latino immigrants are in better health than anyone in the United States. It does not matter how rich or poor the Americans are, the new immigrants are healthier. There could be many different explanations for why this is, but the biggest part of it seemed to be due to the Latino culture. Family closeness is very important in Latino culture, and everyone helps each other. There is never anyone that is out on their own. Also, the new immigrants came to the United States with big hopes and dreams of making a better life for themselves and their families. This motivation and close-knit family ties keeps these new immigrants in a sort of “bubble”. Without the stress of being alone and people to talk to about your problems, the new Latino immigrants have a significantly smaller chance of developing stress related illnesses such as heart disease. After a single generation, though, these children become more Americanized and the “bubble” begins to disintegrate. These children no longer are in better health than Americans.

It is true that there may be some genetic factors involved, but the video talked mostly about how culture and society explained these observed health disparities. For example, the main city in the video had a lot of social groups where individuals can go to talk about their issues and recruit help for services. There is also a teen center where kids after school can go to hang out or do homework. This keeps kids focused and helps with their stress, therefore they remain in better health.

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  1. Karra Larkins says:

    I found many of the statistics in the Health Equity quiz very surprising as well. I only got 2 right and those just happened to be luck. I think the society is responsible for this problem. American is a very fast paced place and there is a lot of stress that goes along with that. We are not very family oriented, so we are missing a very large support system that would help people cope with stress. A solution to this problem is to change our environment. We have to actively change the things in our lives that cause stress. This could be hard just because of the society that we live in. There are stress factors at work, home and in daily encounters. It is hard to completely rid yourself from them but there are things you can do to make them less hazardous to your health. Things like exercising; running and yoga, talking to friends and by simply taking time out for yourself. Becoming closer to your family had pros and cons as well. Some families are harder to live with than others, it is unfortunately true that being without family would be better for some people’s health than others. But people should always have a support system behind them to help with the unexpected.

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