Becoming American

I did not do very well on the Health Equity quiz, so I was surprised by many of the statistics I read! I was extremely surprised to learn that white neighborhoods in Los Angelos have 19 times more green space than black and hispanic areas. I figured white areas would have more, but I didn’t think it would be that great of a difference. I was also surprised to learn that the United States is 29th in life expectancy. Because America is one of the most developed countries in the world, I expected them to be in the top 10.

The¬†Unnatural Causes episode “Becoming American” discusses how many immigrants are very healthy when they move to the US, but after spending some time here, over generations, they have become less and less healthy. Also, many recent Mexican immigrants are not only much healthier than other poor groups, but healthier than some of the wealthiest groups. This could be due to the strong sense of family and community these immigrants experience, which relieves some of the stress of living in a new country with little to no money, and also protects them from the negative impacts of American culture. However, these negative impacts do affect them over time. Americans work the longest hours out of any industrialized country, even Japan. Also, social isolation is rapidly increasing in American culture, and has been correlated with an increase in other diseases, and basically makes people age faster. The strong sense of community among Mexican immigrants, as well as these negative impacts, are definitely non-genetic factors which are contributing to these health disparities between old immigrants who have been living in America for a long time compared to newer, healthier immigrants. Another factor is the relationship between health and wealth. The correlation is very loose in new immigrants, but as they become more americanized, the relationship becomes tighter and tighter.

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  1. Anya Odabasic says:

    I think this is a tough health disparity to analyze and deal with. Being an American, it is hard for me to see that immigrant life quality decreases as they come here but it is also hard for me to say that life should be any different than how it is. Although the local population has been helping these Mexican Americans with some things such as after school programs to watch the kids, I think this shows a bigger problem occurring that should ideally be addressed by the government.

    The way of life in America is face paced and all about money and technology. Advancements are moving rapidly and we as citizens are almost forced to adjust or be left behind. Job hours need to be shortened, wages need to be increased, prices need to drop; I feel a lot has to happen for the health of Americans as a whole to increase. It is more than just saying, we need to eat healthier and spend more time with family. Even if your family partakes in this lifestyle, parents will still have to work hours and hours to support the family because the overall lifestyle in America is still going to be the same.

    I guess you could say my solution is political because I feel like the idea of health and lifestyle in America is a never-ending cycle that would need intervention of very great demand.

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