W2 Activity: Place Matters

I got about 50% correct on the Health Equity Quiz, which I was not surprised about. I was not familiar with those statistics, but found them to be an enlightening educational experience. I was shocked to learn that the United States was 29th in the world for life expectancy. Naturally, due to the disparities in our public health system, we are bound to have a lower expectancy than countries who provide a more comprehensive health care system to an already healthier population. The statistic that was most shocking to me, however, was the income inequality, which is the largest it has been since the 1920s. The 1920s included the Great Depression, end of World War I, and the beginning of prohibition resulting in massive social upheaval and large scale economic changes.

The Unnatural Causes episode I watched was called “Place Matters” and addresses how important the location of your home is to the quality of your life. Meaning that it is a good predictor of how likely you are to get sick, live to an old age, or suffer from disease. This ties back into the lecture because it further demonstrates that it is not race that dictates quality and length of life, rather it is the environmental conditions. Things like crime and violence, chemicals, social environment, and more contribute to health. Gwai Boonkeut, a man who had a heart attack a young age with no family history of heart disease or problems and is a non-smoker, suffers from living within a neighborhood that lacks that affluence of a more wealthy area. His area lacks easy access to healthy foods and experiences what Unnatural Causes called a poverty tax. They are living within an urbanized area and yet they lack the benefits that a more wealthy area would have.

His case is a good example of non-genetic factors that are a result of the environmental conditions in which they live. Chemicals, lack of healthy foods, an unsafe area, and less income can provide stress and apprehension about getting outside and moving to keep healthy and social. Gwai’s case is a strong proponent of the fact that people are created by the conditions in which they live.

2 thoughts on “W2 Activity: Place Matters

  1. Hi Linsey!
    First off, nice job on getting 50% on the Health Equity Quiz! I only got an awful 3 out of 10.
    A possible political solution to solve the health-related issues that arise from poor socioeconomic status and living conditions could be implementation of food and wellness programs. Whether by government funding or through charity efforts, programs that could provide a source of nutritious foods, medical care, or fitness centers would greatly increase the opportunity for poverty stricken individuals to live a more healthy life. I am no politician and am not well educated in the realm of public funding, so how anyone would go about implementing such a program I am unsure. If there were access to healthy lifestyle options, it would be up to the individual to go to the efforts of choosing healthier food or improving physical fitness, which would be a difficult change to make. So, included in such a program should be a public campaign to educate the people on the benefits of utilizing the available resources that would have a positive impact on health.
    When it comes to alleviating the health disparity between wealthy and impoverished neighborhoods, it is difficult to say who should be held responsible. My best idea would be the government stepping in, similarly to what I mentioned above, and implementing public programs that could assist in the issue. I can see how this would be difficult due to lack of public funds, though. The video raised some good questions and I would be interested to know the best ways to solve the health issues in our country.

  2. Hey Linsey!

    “Place Matters” is one of the three films I chose to watch for this week and could easily summarize it in the same way. The film was very eye opening to the fact that environmental factors play such a significant role in the health of people who live in specific environments. I believe a possible solution to this health problem would be to make resources available to people living in less affluent areas such as markets that offer healthier food options and parks or trails that offer an opportunity for exercise. I also believe getting rid of the the poverty tax would make a significant difference because people wouldn’t be harming their health by stressing over not being able to pay for the simple things they need to survive.

    My solution to this health problem is both political and economic. Ridding of the poverty tax would be a political solution because a new law or policy could be intact to allow people living in poverty to have the same tax as those who aren’t living in poverty. I believe everyone should be treated fairly regardless of their affluence. Making resources available to people living in less affluent areas would be considered an economic solution because the people looking for these resources would be requesting funding for them to be put in place.

    Lastly, I believe that the government should be responsible for alleviating this health disparity. It’s not the people who suffer the health consequences of their environments fault that they feel how they do. I believe the government should hold the responsibility for funding the much need resources for these people because they can. The government spends all kinds of money left and right funding things that don’t matter or aren’t important here and now but the health and lives of these people who are suffering is important now. The government is also the one who would have control over changing the poverty tax because that is where is originated. I don’t think it should be anyone’s problem but the governments to make these necessary changes because they have no problem telling the world these problems exist while they should be spending the time to fix them.

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