Not just a paycheck

I received a 5/10 on the health equality quiz. Many of the answers I had to guess between two I thought would be correct. The most surprising answer to me was that recent Latino immigrants had the best health in America. I expected that white Americans would have had the better health because this is many times classified as the ethnicity with the greatest wealth. I also did not expect America would have been so low of the life expectancy chart, I though we would have been in the top 10 with our medical technology.

In the unnatural causes video titled “not just a paycheck”, the town of Greenville, Michigan was shown to have health struggles due to its economic decline. This video was interesting to me because Greenville is not far from my house and I meet many people from Greenville through my work. After outsourcing many factory jobs to Mexico to increase corporate wealth, many workers in Greenville lost their income as well as health benefits, leading to a decline in their overall public health. The video showed that money alone was not the cause of decline in health but that it leads to stress eating/drinking, depression, anxiety, and other forms of illness. The people in Greenville were compared to those in Sweden whom also lost factory jobs. People in Sweden pay much higher taxes, but after being laid off work receive a higher unemployment check, making them less stressed to find work and worry about providing for their family. The Swedish people interviewed seem surprised at how our system works and even the Americans seemed to think we do not have a good system in place. The Swedish system has shown to have a positive outcome as Sweden has generally healthier individuals as well as a longer life expectancy by 3 years.

The factors such as a steady income, even with without a job, is an example of a non-genetic factor that shows the difference in health disparities. There is not such a large gap between rich and poor in Sweden as is the case in America. This greater equality seems to be affecting their health in a positive way.

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  1. Tyler Lambert says:

    There are a few combining factors attributing to the low overall public health in Greenville, Michigan. According to the summary of the video “not just a paycheck” the health decline in Greenville started with an outsourcing of jobs, which led to more poverty and more people without health insurance. You mentioned the loss of a job and health insurance can lead to stress, anxiety, depression and other illnesses. One solution to the problem seen in Greenville could be similar to what is taking place in Sweden. Individuals pay higher taxes but unemployment and other government assistance would increase as well. This would be a combination of a political and economical solution. A solution that relies solely on the individual also seems possible. Individuals in Greenville can make an impact by re-entering the workforce and improving health with proper diet and exercise. Even taking lower wage jobs, just to have the steady income there would be an influx of people/money into the economy, over the long term improving the community’s health. If the Greenville economy is able to shift the dependence on factory work and move towards a more agricultural dependence that could lead to an improvement in both economy and health. I think the locals are the most responsible for improving the current condition. However, with combinations of individual, political and economic improvements a solution can be achieved.

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