Becoming American

Honestly I got about half of the questions on the Health Equity quiz wrong. Many of the answers to the questions really took me by surprise, for example despite our “advance healthcare” we are at 29th place when it comes to overall life expectancies. Even with the fact that we spend two and a half times more on healthcare than most countries. Another interesting fact would be that males in Bangladesh (one of the poorest countries in the world) have a higher chance of reaching 65 than African American males from Harlem.

In the episode Becoming American we see that the Mexican newly immigrating families are the most healthy  individuals in the US. Although they move from a underserved country and venture to the United States (an fully industrialized country), in the episodes case they came to a prominent wealthy city in Pennsylvania. We see that their health deteriorates as they spend more time assimilating to the American culture. One point is that although they come into the country with very low financial stability their health is great. They mentioned that one of the farm workers hadn’t seen a doctor in many years.Their health my be due to immigrant families close knit dynamics and helps cushion many stressful moments that would otherwise be terribly stressful to an isolated individual (as they also said that people who are isolated tend to have worse health).

There are many non-genetic factors that allow for health disparities such as work place rank/position. In the unnatural causes episode “in sickness and in wealth” they did a study on monkeys on their relationships toward each other. They found that comparing the arteries of  “dominant” monkeys to “submissive” monkeys, that the “dominants” ones had healthier arteries. Since they are “dominant” they can go as they please not having to worry about anyone but themselves. They made this correlation to comparing the CEO of the hospital to that of the the janitor that cleaned the hospital. The janitor had less control of his work and thus lead to being stressed over being shifted around. This could be why many Immigrants could have worse health the longer they become american, they can only find low income jobs that virtually give them no control (or sometimes basic workforce rights) thus leading to becoming more stressed over time.


This Post Has 1 Comment

  1. Sultan Qiblawi says:

    I agree with your post, Rolando. It is very important to look at all of the potential factors that living in America has on immigrating families. I think that assimilating into American culture has its own stress in addition to many of the factors that you mentioned in your post (i.e. disparity in work positions, and isolation). I believe that a solution to this complex problem would involve changing many of the ways immigrant families are brought into America. I would suggest an economical and individual solution to address the deteriorating health of immigrants as they become more American. I think on an individual level, people should try to incorporate their own culture into their daily life and not try to assimilate into an American lifestyle fully. It is important to execute this because it is a shock for people to completely change their lifestyle and that could have ill health effects on people. I would also implement an economic solution to this problem allowing immigrant people to be competitive for jobs that would give them financial freedom and relieve them of their time constraints (as mentioned in your post). I believe that everyone should be responsible for this change, but it should be initiated from the federal government. By the government starting this type of campaign, the effects will trickle down to the local community and all of the health care officials in the area. The media would certainly change with support from all of the major branches of government and I believe we would see a major impact on immigrant health.

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