In Sickness and In Wealth.

I received a 3 out of 10 on the health equity quiz taken at the beginning of this unit. I was honestly surprised by most of the statistics that were in the quiz. Especially the one about Americans being the 29th country in life expectancy. Compare this to the amount of money  we spend per person on health each year you would think that we would be living longer than some of the other countries. Americans spend over twice as much per person on medical health then other industrialized countries but interestingly enough we are not the longest living.

I watched In Sickness and In Wealth which made me even more intrigued in Medical Anthropology than before. This episode discussed and compared income to health. It had reliable studies done on subjects to see how they react to stress and how it compares to how much money they have or if they own a home. I was astonished to see the several different people living in such close areas that have such different lives. This episode walks through the lives of different people in separate social classes and compares their lifestyles. We were able to see that genetics is not what makes people poor or rich but it is contributed to their social class growing up. The non genetic factors that affect illness are lower income housing. They have less access to medical care and less access to healthy food choices. This decreases their health while increasing their need for help. Although everyone has stress the people at the bottom of the hierarchy showed greater stress leading to health issues and therefore a shorter life expectancy. I have never realized how much social class affects health and wellness. It makes me realize how fortunate I am to have the ability to receive help when I am sick and to have food on the table three times a day.


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  1. Adam Feuerstein says:

    Hannah, This is a problem that has been evident for a long time. The idea that the rich are getting richer while the poor get poorer has some evidence behind it that become even clearer when observing health of these two groups. A possible solution to this is reforming jobs and minimal wage status to create a more equal range of citizens’ income. Another solution is to keep things the way America currently has them but offer health care at a discounted rate for those who cant normally afford it. This is a major political issue in our country now and people disagree weather it is a right as a human or not. I did not view this episode but according to your description the problem seems to lie in money and trickles down to health from lack of money. I do not think this should be a political debate however and people should be on their own to pay for their medical expenses. I do think people should give assistance to others because it is the kind thing to do, but they should not be required. A way to improve the health at a lower cost would be to improve the education system on how to stay healthy. Then make those food choices that are considered a healthy option to be a lower cost. This gives people an option to try to avoid a disease through basic every day health care. This way no single person is responsible for health of others but we all have an obligation to ourselves to make a good or bad choice.

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