“Collateral Damage”

As sad as it sounds, I was only able to score a 3/10 on the Health Equity Quiz.  There were many statistics on this quiz that I was unfamiliar with, but I was probably the most surprised by the fact that the United States ranks 29th in the world for life expectancy.  On one hand, that is very upsetting to hear because the majority of people accept the fact that the United States is the most advanced country in the world, but based on our life expectancy I do not believe we really are.  On the other hand, being in 29th place is proof that it is possible for the United States to raise its average.


I watched the “Collateral Damage” documentary, and I read the corresponding “In Dependent Solutions” case study.  The video and case study explain the situation that inhabitants of the Marshall Islands are currently experiencing.  Since the Marshall Islands were used as a nuclear test range after World War II, many inhabitants experienced radiation poisoning or became very ill from rubbing the debris from the nuclear bombs on themselves because they believed it to be a gift from the Gods.  If the radiation was not enough to convince the United States to stop imposing on the Marshall Islands, they went even farther and built a military base on one of the islands (Kwajalein).  The United States then relocated all of the natives on Kwajalein to another island which forced them to change their social structures, dietary habits, and even part of their culture.  The people of the Marshall Islands are subject to many diseases now because of the poor conditions they live under and currently their biggest problem is tuberculosis.


There are obviously many reasons besides genetics that can explain health disparities.  If a certain eating habit is customary for a certain religion, this may cause health problems.  Some societies do not have access to good medical care and, therefore, cannot remain as healthy as they may be able to in another location.  There are numerous other examples of non-genetically caused illnesses, but the most important point to get across is that one’s genes are not always to blame for someone’s failing health.

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