While genetics and race both play a role in determining one’s health, they do so in very different ways. Genes actually have nothing to do with race. One’s genes determine skin and hair color, height, and other physical features. Some people are more susceptible to certain diseases than others, and one’s genes play an important part in whether or not a person is likely to contract a certain illness. Race, on the other hand, is a culture or lifestyle that a group of people identifies with. Some say race has an even bigger role than genes in determining health, or rather the culture that someone of a particular race identifies with. How one is raised, their upbringing, their environment, and socioeconomic status are among the most important factors contributing to how healthy a person is. According to lecture, the Thrifty Genotype Hypothesis has been used to explain the fact of different cultures being more prone to certain illnesses. This theory involves the four types of evolution- genetic drift, mutation, natural selection, and gene flow. All of these occurrences within a population play a major role in whether or not that population is healthy.
The disease I chose to analyze is breast cancer. This disease is most prevalent among Caucasian women, a race I myself identify with. The reason for this could be a multitude of factors, most having to do with the lifestyle of most white women. White women drink more alcohol, have fewer children, and are less likely to breastfeed than women of other races. Breastfeeding can be very beneficial in reducing the risk of breast cancer. There are also a higher number of obese women that identify with the Caucasian race, which is another risk factor for breast cancer. However, something I also found very interesting is that while white women are more likely to have the disease, black women are more likely to die from it. This could be because, in many black communities, the women have poorer health care or insufficient funds, and they do not get diagnosed early enough or don’t receive proper treatment once they are diagnosed.
Medical News Today, “White women more prone to breast cancer because of lifestyle.” Last modified january 9, 2014. Accessed July 11, 2014. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270964.php.
National Cancer Institute, “Cancer Health Disparities.” Accessed July 11, 2014. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/disparities/cancer-health-disparities.