Becoming American

On the Health Equity Quiz I scored a 3 out of 10. I was very surprised at every answer to these questions but the one I was most shocked at was the American life expectancy compared to other countries. I put that we were in the top 10, but finding out that we were in the 29th place was not even close to what I expected. Seeing as we have such high-powered technology and more health care than other places I would’ve that we were higher ranked. This quiz was extremely informative because it gave me more insight on the health in American culture.

In the unnatural cause episode “Becoming American” Latinos immigrated to America and it was shown that when they first arrived they were healthier than the US citizens who have lived here there whole lives. However, after about 5 years of living here they are started to get an increase in chances of diseases because they were becoming “Americanized”. Becoming this meant that they started to adapt to our lifestyles and the idea that wealth=health. Once they started to live here longer, their health started to decrease. One of the reasons this happened was because their income was so low and becoming poor meant they started to understand the idea of wealth=health. This case shows that to a new immigrant wealth & health have no correlation, but once you “Become American”, it starts to take affect.

A non-genetic factor that can explain some of these health disparities is the social isolation that was discussed in “Becoming American”. As I stated before, new Latino immigrants had strong family ties and they depended on each other. Becoming socially isolated from a bond like this can cause for depression and that could lead to a different lifestyle. Depression is a good example of a non-genetic factor not only in the Latino immigrants, but other US citizens that live here also.

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  1. Ben Caldwell says:

    I didn’t watch the “Becoming American” episode of Unnatural Causes, but this relationship doesn’t surprise me all that much. I think the author of this post hits the nail on the head when they discussed the low income levels of these families.
    Unfortunately, unless you have land to grow your own food on, eating a healthy and balanced diet can be very costly. What’s cheaper that fresh fruits and vegetables? Canned foods, frozen foods, and foods that have a shelf life of a decade. If these are the only kinds of foods that you can afford, then naturally this is what you will eat, and with a diet like that it is no surprise that health and life expectancy decrease.
    As for a solution, I think a big way to improve this problem is better regulation of what can be put into foods. Refined sugar shouldn’t be listed at the top of any ingredients lift. Some other possible solutions are local, community gardens and rooftop gardens are becoming more popular, and are great ways to make fresh produce more available. Also, crop sharing if you are in a more rural environment. I have never participated in this so I cannot speak to how much the investment is at the beginning of the season, but it is a way to provide yourself with healthier food at least during the growing season.

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