I got 5/10 on the Health Equity Quiz. I was most surprised by the fact that the United States is ranked 29th in life expectancy. I knew that most Americans were not healthy; we eat fast food and do not run enough, however, I thought with our modern health technologies would outweigh the unhealthy lifestyle of the modern American. I would have not guessed that Japan had the highest life expectancy.
The case study on the episode “Bad Sugar” is very surprising to me. The case study starts off summarizing that diabetes is a worldwide epidemic; over the last decade the prevalence rates of diabetes has risen 80%. Type 2 diabetes is very debilitating and currently does not have a cure. Symptoms are managed usually by insulin injections or pills. People with diabetes need to monitor their blood sugars at least four times daily to ensure that the blood sugar is not too low or too high, both of which could result in death. The O’odham population are highly susceptible to diabetes type 2 today, however, 100 years ago they had the same predisposition to the disease as the rest of the population. Today 1/2 of all O’odham adults are believed to be affected by type 2 diabetes. Researches think that the diabetes epidemic in the O’odham population is an effect of damning of rivers for increased water in Phoenix. Because water no longer reached them, the O’odham population was not able to grow their own foods and essentially were left in starvation and poverty. The O’odham people then had to rely on fast food and cheap processed foods to eat. Researchers also think that the O’odham population may be genetically predisposed to diabetes to begin with. Today, researchers are trying to find out why certain people are more disposed to diabetes, as well as, to debunk the fallacy that just because someone is Indian does not mean they will have diabetes. Diabetes is linked to eating and excise patterns. There are other factors involved as well. In the case of the O’odham Indians, researchers think that chronic stress because of poverty, racism, lack of opportunity, inadequate governmental services, and self blame cause increase blood sugar levels, over time causing diabetes. It is clear that the O’odham people need long term, adequate and culturally accepted health care available. Currently, the O’odham people are working with schools in the area to provide health classes, PE classes, and healthy lunch options. However, no one is jumping to cure diabetes because it is a multimillion dollar industry. People need insulin, amputations, and more hospital stays due to their diabetes.
There are some non-genetic factors that can lead to diabetes. In the case of the O’odham people, after the damning of the rivers and the drought of their crops, the American government tried to help by providing food to the people in the area. However, the food provided was not healthy and was very processed. Due to the increase in carbohydrates, people started to get diabetes. Also, cultural foods were not available, straying the culture from their roots in the community.