BECOMING AMERICAN

I took the health Equity Quiz twice and the first time I only got a 2 as I was rushing through the answers. I took the test again a second time when I realized that I had to post my thoughts about it and that second time I still only got a 5!  The two main statistics that not only surprised me but also concerned me was the fact that America’s health is 29th in the world and that citizens of countries with lesser financial status than us, such as Greece, live on average longer than us despite America spending twice as much on health care as many other countries. It also was worrying that newly arrived migrants are healthier than those living in America for decades. It was because of this, I decided to choose the video “Becoming American” which talked about how Mexican migrants are healthier than Americans, a phenomenon known as the “Latino Paradox”. The show highlighted the case of Amador Bernal who works on a mushroom farm in Pennsylvania and has been living in America for twenty-five years while his family lived in Mexico. Despite the distance, Amador traveled for 20 years to and fro between his work and his family in Mexico, until he received his green card and was able to call his family over to live with him. Studies conducted on people like Amador found that migrant families tend to have tight family and social networks that allow them to fight off stresses that could negatively impact health. This was despite the fact that Mexican migrants were one of the poorest, socially marginalized groups. Interestingly, another research found that isolation can kill as it creates chronically stressful situations and this was something found more commonly in American families rather than migrants. However, it was striking to learn that after five years of living in America, migrants were 1.5 times more likely to have high blood pressure, obesity and heart disease. Environmental factors such as a sense of not being accepted, of acclimatizing to the American way so much as to not carry the same hopefulness as their parents and elders can increase health problems. Also, lack of access to the same opportunities as other Americans can cause stress, which is known to be a strong trigger for many health issues, some of which can be fatal.

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