W2 Activity: Bad Sugar

After taking the health equity quiz I noticed that my understanding of health in America was way lower than expected. The statistic that I found the most surprising was that the United States was not ranked first in the world in life expectancy but 29th instead. I decided to watch the “Bad Sugar” episode and learned that type 2 diabetes is the most prevalent disease within the Tohono O’Odham Native America tribe known as the Pima. Type 2 diabetes can lead to liver failure, glaucoma, and nerve damage and possible amputation. There is a link between living in stress and poverty and the chances of getting type 2 diabetes. This link illustrates why people of the Tohono O’Odham tribe have a high prevalence of type 2 diabetes and it has all to do with the environment they live in and their poor living conditions. The Tohono O’Odham tribe had a lack of water for almost 100 years and that lead to many deaths by starvation and raised the rate of diabetes within the whole tribe. In more recent years the US Military began to distribute free commodity foods for the Native American tribe, however, these foods were high in fat and sugar which ultimately hurt their health and in turn only helped to worsen the diabetes situation. Even though the genetics of the Pima tribe are prevalent to diabetes, changes in the environment and living conditions can help to prolong the occurrence and fight the disease. Taking more control of the Pima Indians community and raising the levels of health care, education, social policy and economic and workforce development can very heavily benefit the overall understanding of diabetes and what can be done to help Pima tribe patients with the disease and how to cope with the disease from day to day. All these changes can not only lead to reducing the death of the people in this tribe from Diabetes but can also overall reduce the possibility of other diseases and illnesses.

2 thoughts on “W2 Activity: Bad Sugar

  1. Hi, Meri!
    I think what you said about potential ways to reduce instances of type two diabetes among the Pima tribe was very well-rounded and important to consider when dealing with such an epidemic. But the most important thing is to find the best ways to prevent people from having high levels of glucose from remain in their bloodstream for long periods of time. I think the most important thing you listed in terms of resolutions was education. If so many people are getting type two diabetes within a population, then it would be a great asset to provide the at-risk with a better understanding of the disease. From this, we can deduce that the way to prevent diabetes would have to be a combination of individual and economic improvements. In terms of individual, people would need to learn to follow a diet that contains an appropriate amount of glucose for the pancreas to handle. At the same time the benefit of education could be fundamental for prevention and can aid the individual as well.
    To set this in motion, we would need the cooperation of locals as well as the government. Most likely this would start with the government providing education in schools about the risk of type two diabetes. At the point that people become more knowledgable about the disease, they can individually develop diet regimands to better suit their needs and in turn prevent development of the disease.

  2. Hello Meri,

    I chose a different video to analyze, but I think that the concept in the video “Place Matters” could help serve as an explanation for the health concern seen in “Bad Sugar.” As you mentioned, I think that the environment and the poor living conditions could be reasons why Type II diabetes is so prevalent in the Tohono O’ogham tribes. I think a possible solution in decreasing the prevalence of Type II diabetes in this Native American tribe would be to spread education. Education about the disease, the severity of the disease, who and why it affects certain people, and what they can do to prevent it or control it. I think education is the most important because if they had a better understanding of the condition, then the other issues such as the economic and healthcare concerns, could be worked on later because they will better understand what needs to be done. Many of the adjustments that need to be made are indeed individual, but I think economical solutions are also important. I say this because if funding, education, or jobs are not available on these reservations, it would make it very difficult to make this individual life changes. The members of this tribe would need to change their eating habits and be more active. However as mentioned, if there is not good quality food available, it would make this task difficult. This is where education comes in. If they learn what it is they need to avoid, they might try harder to consume better foods. They could learn to grow vegetables and fruits, and raise animals for meats. Therefore, I would say that the locals would have the best chance at alleviating this health disparity. If the community works together, they may have a better chance at reducing the rates of diabetes. It starts at home. I addition to the progression of the locals, I also think the government would be extremely useful in reducing Type I diabetes in this tribe if they allocate money to the community to open fresh markets, provide land for farming, placing a small health clinic in the community, or give money for educational purposes would all make a huge difference.

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