Becoming American

I did not do as well as I thought I would have on the Healthy Equity Quiz, end only ended up scoring a 3 out 10! I was suprised by many of the statistics, especially, the fact that the United States only ranks 29th for life expectancy. For how advanced we are in medicine this is a very surprising statistic, its sad that our personal choices regarding nutrition and exercise are most likely the major cause for this. Another statistic that I also found sort of shocking was that there is is a difference of 15 years in life expenctancy between some counties in the United States, I thought that this number is quite large for a country that is supposed to embody equality.

I chose “Becoming American” which was about a Latino family who had recently moved to the United States. Upon their arrival their health was excellent, which is the case for most immigrants that arrive in the United States.. The video stated that Latino immigrants have on average much higher health than the average American. These immigrants and including the family in the video come in with strong family ties and other cultural adaptations that promote good mental and physical health. The more time, however, that these families spend in the United States the worse their health becomes, they are “becoming American”and we saw this with the family from the video. The immigrant family found out that the American dream is harder to come by than they thought, often working long hours and never moving up from the bottom of othe ladder. According to the video 3 out of 4 families at the bottom of the income ladder find themselves in the same position a decade later. Working long hours means less time to socialize with the family slowing eroding family strong family ties. These family ties helped ease stress and resist the negative American culture, allowing stress and depression to creep in. After being in the United States for only 5 years immigrants are 1.5 times more likely to have hpertension, due to these new American stresses. Americans as a whole need to think of new methods, programs and/or strategies to battle these cultural issues we have created, hopefully the study of medical anthropology can be of some help!

Often times we are looking for genetic factors to explain health disparities when there are many non-genetic factors that can explain these conditions and diseases. The environment plays an enormous role in the development of most of the health disparities Americans experience such as heart disease, hypertensions, depression and anxiety. These non-genetic factors include; stress, poor housing, poor education, avaiable resources and many more.

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