First of all, I did better than I expected on the health equity quiz. I got a 7 out of 10. One of the questions I got wrong asked about who is the healthiest group of people in the US and based on the previous questions and answers, and from my own common knowledge, I chose non-Hispanic whites, but the answer was actually recent Latino immigrants. I found that to be very interesting, especially since they come from a poor environment and after living in the United States for only a few years, they began developing more diseases. Another question I got wrong asked about the wage differences between the richest and poorest of people living in the US and I found it surprising and sad that the top 1% of wealthy people have more money than the bottom 90% of people combined. That’s very unfortunate, but shows how realistic the gap is between the wealthy and poor. Then, from our lecture material and the quiz answers, we know that those with less money usually have more health concerns, but we also seen that in other parts of the world, thats not always the case.
As mentioned in the prompt, we often associate developed and urbanization communities with having better health statuses. However, as seen in the quiz, that is not always true. For example, one of the statistics say that the Unites States is the 2nd most wealthiest country in the world, yet we are ranked in29th place for life expectancy. You would think with the technology and advancements that we have, we would be living longer and more healthy lives. The problem comes when there are huge gaps in socioeconomic status. This is when the wealthy carry a majority of a communities income, and resources are limited in poorer communities. In US, the single most important predictor of health is wealth. Power and resources help regulate health status. Those on bottom of socioeconomic pyramid have little to no control over frequent heath threats which in turn increases the risk of chronic disease in these communities.
For this weeks assignment, I chose to analyze the Unnatural Causes 5: “Place Matters.” I chose this video because I feel like it could easily tie into our topic for the week “Ecological and Biological Approaches” and with my Reflection post about African-Americans living in the south have the highest prevalence of hypertension. The video asks an interesting question, “Is Inequality Making Us Sick?” Based on what I have learned and read so far, I do feel as if inequality is contributing to illness. Place matters because where a person spends most of their time, or their living environment, is associated with exposure. Where a person lives is a strong indicator of their health. There is a nearly a 15 yr gap in life expectancy between counties in the US regarding the wealthier, vs poorer counties. If a person lives in a dangerous, poor social, low economic, or polluted community, then their risk of developing disease is higher than those living in the opposing environments. The healthcare workers in the video basically said that in low income and problem communities, they see more illness such as asthma, and hospitalizations from illnesses that aren’t necessarily genetic. Many of which develop due to environmental stressors, such as the heart disease the man from Laos had even though he did not smoke or have history of family heart disease. As I mentioned in my reflection post about the diets of southern African-Americans being a problem deeper than personal behaviors, but based on social norms, a physician in the Unnatural Causes 5 video made another interesting and relatable point: people often think that to improve health, we must focus on individual behavior changes, however behavior changes are not always within possible reach since these choices can be limited by environmental factors. I found it interesting that the video mentioned that in poverty areas, things such as cars, food, homes, even cashing a check, cost more than wealthier communities. This makes no sense. I almost feel like people living in poverty are trapped there on purpose by the government. Whites living in big cities have more natural environments. This means cleaner air, room to exercise and play, higher property values and increased desire to live in these communities. Black and latino neighborhoods have more fast food chains and liquor stores and lack adorable fruits and veggies. This type of environment causes illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes, and asthma that would not necessarily always be genetic in this type of situation.