Collateral Damage

In regards to the Health Equity quiz I did relatively well, but my knowledge on such topics would is attributed to epidemiology 390. Even though I was familiar with over fifty percent of the material a few statistics still had me dumbfounded. The two that were the most startling were that African American men living in Harlem have the shortest life spans in relation to Japanese, Bangladeshis, and Cubans. I then attributed this to the rough lifestyle and exposure to a higher percentage of violence. However, I was wrong most deaths among this subgroup of people are due to chronic diseases. The second statistic was that recent Latino immigrants have the best health in the United States. The paradox to this is the longer they inhabit the United States the more their health declines. I still am unclear if the statistic or the explanations behind the statistic are more startling.

The Collateral Damage clip explains the consequences of the United States testing atomic bombs in the Bikini Islands. The United States navy asked the natives to evacuate by insinuating that it was the will of God to secure the peace of the world. Sixty-seven atomic bombs were detonated each day for twelve years. On March 1, 1954 the Bravo atomic bomb was detonated. Due to a miscalculation the explosion was a thousand times that of Hiroshima and contaminated two neighboring atolls in which were not evacuated. Over two hundred native peoples were exposed to massive amounts of radiation that would generate approximately five hundred and thirty excess cancers. However, the development of cancer was not the most devastating consequence of the contamination. The displacement of the natives had a much larger impact on their health and was immediate. The land tied the community together and moving caused strain and breakdown of the communal structure and traditions. The crops they had been accustomed to growing were no longer options for food. Now they were introduced to Western foods by the United States navy and an increase of chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension that were never prevalent prior to their change in diet. Tuberculosis and other infectious diseases that are fueled by poverty and poor living conditions also immerged among these peoples.

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