Bad Sugar

On the Health Equity Quiz I was shocked I got less than 50%! I only got 4 questions correct while I got 6 questions wrong. There were a ton of facts that I was a bit taken back by. One was that, even though they are among the poorest groups in the country, recent Latino immigrants have the best health in the United States. Also, the fact that we rank so low as a country in life expectancy and overall health yet we are one of the richest countries and we spend over twice the amount of money on health care than the average amount countries spend. The unnatural causes episode that was called “Bad Sugar” was an episode that focused on the relatively high rate of the disease diabetes in the population of the Pima. The Pima is a Native American tribe that suffers from a high rate of diabetes because of the way they have been poorly treated by the United States in the past. The Americans took away their main source of life (which was their access to water) and tried to help them and make up for all the people of the Pima population that died of starvation by providing them with food. The food that was provided to the Pima, however, was terrible as far as the nutritional value goes and may be the cause of so much diabetes in their culture. It is so common among their population though that they do not see it as negatively as we do and just blame it on the fact that they have bad sugar. There are definitely some non-genetic factors that can explain these observed health disparities for this Native American population of Pima. Their socioeconomic standing has almost everything to do with their poor health. The fact that the population is poor leads them to eat lower cost food which is usually very high in sugars and fats that can cause people to develop type 2 diabetes throughout their lives. Also, being in poverty has links to increased stress because they can not afford necessities in their lives. These increased stress hormones have direct links to the causation and development of diabetes in people because the stress hormones increase the level of glucose in the person’s blood. The socioeconomic status of these people was not a fault of their own either. The river their population thrived off of was dammed up by the United States when Coolidge was president and this is what caused the huge number of deaths of the Pima based on starvation and lack of water so they had no choice but to take advantage of the terrible food provided to them by the US government.

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  1. Jaana Ashtiani says:

    Based on your post, I have concluded that the Pima Native Americans are at such high risk of diabetes due to their poverty and an overall lack of access to healthy foods and clean water. A simple solution to this would be to provide more land for fresh fruit and vegetable farming, or to provide them with government assistance such as healthy foods and water in order to make up for the affects that the building of the dam had on this population of people. If it is something we caused, then we should be responsible for fixing it.
    My solution is very logical, but it also falls into the range of political and economical as well. The U.S government should assist the Pima tribe in an attempt to fix a problem that we caused so long ago. However, the problem also lies within economic issues as well since the main solution is to provide healthy food and water for a society that is otherwise incapable of getting it themselves due to socioeconomic status. Therefore as I mentioned before, the government is primarily the source where the solution must come from. Of course the help of doctors and ordinary civilians such as ourselves is welcome as well. The government has the means and resources to help these people without it even taking a toll on ourselves. Even if they just provide some extra land and irrigation, the Pima can then take these resources and move forward with them. It is the right and humane thing to do.

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