Although I got a 7/10 on the Health Equity Quiz, I will admit that some of those were guesses based on things that I learned in a previous course. One statistic that struck me was how much the United States life expectancy rank has so dramatically fallen over the course of 50 years. I found this to be ironic in that the quiz also stated that we spend two and a half times as much on healthcare in comparison to the average of other industrialized countries.
The “Bad Sugar” episode of Unnatural Causes was one of the episodes that I chose to watch, and it told the story of the O’odham/Pima peoples and the high prevalence of diabetes amongst them. It was a bit of a history lesson to me, and I was very saddened to learn of their history in regards to the damning of the Gila river. As a result of this, the people lost their only source of water- an essential part of their culture and everyday lives. One part in the episode that was emotional for me was when a woman talked about her feelings on how the people upstream of the dam benefited from their loss. Unable to grow crops, they found themselves impoverished. Later, they were provided commodity food, in which they had to adjust, making do with what they barely had. Fry bread – dough fried in lard – is a food often thought of as part of their culture, however this only became true as a result of them not having the resources that they previously did. Such alterations in diet, along with other hardships they faced as a result of their loss of the river are examples of non-genetic factors that may have played a role in the high statistic of diabetes amongst the people. This episode enabled me to look at diabetes from a different perspective, and assisted in widening my view in terms of taking in many factors when looking at disease.