W2 Activity: Bad Sugar

On the Health Equity quiz I was very surprised by some of the statistics that were given. I scored an 8/10, but I believe most of those were lucky guesses. I was extremely surprised to learn that for spending two and a half times more on individual healthcare than other countries, the U.S. does not have very high life expectancy. You would think that with all of that investment, there would be much better results. I also found it interesting that the biggest determination of life expectancy and overall health in America was your socio-economic status. Although I understand that there is a strong correlation between living in poverty and an increased likelihood of sickness, I would not think that wealth would be such an influential determination.

In the Unnatural Causes video “Bad Sugar”, I learned that a Native American tribe in Arizona called the Tonoho O’Odham is extremely affected by Type 2 diabetes, having rates that are 7 times the national average. Other than genetic causes for this particular ailment, the video discussed how urbanization and poverty are factors that affect individual’s predisposition to diabetes. More than half of the Native Americans that have been sequestered into the reservations live below the poverty line. Studies have shown that there is a strong correlation between the stress of living in an impoverished community and increased blood sugar levels. The areas that people were forced into were also devoid of adequate water access and soil for farming, with many lacking the capability of having indoor plumbing. Another non-genetic factor that influences the high rate of diabetes among these people is that although they were receiving supplemental help with the commodity food program, the articles provided were nothing more than a surplus of processed food, which is very detrimental to a diabetic’s diet. Living in an area without access to fresh produce or other healthy items makes it easy to perpetuate the diabetic condition and the other effects that is has within the community.  

One thought on “W2 Activity: Bad Sugar

  1. I agree with you that for the amount of money we spend on healthcare, our life expectancy is so much shorter than other nations. There is a gene sequence called MC4R that basically manages the metabolism in humans, and 50% of Indians have a gene located near this sequence that causes binge eating and obesity. The only way to prevent this from happening to the Indians that have this disruptor gene is for them to avoid overeating over-processed, calorie dense items. Similar to this, if the Native Americans are genetically predisposed to Type II Diabetes, it is important that they have access to foods that aren’t high in fat or sugar. Since half of the Native American who live on the reservations live below the poverty, it is more likely than not that the only food they can afford is the food that is causing them to develop Type II Diabetes. In an attempt to combat this problem, the government should change the commodity food program so that they have access to fresh, unprocessed food. While this would mainly be an economic solution, it would also be an individual one as the people would have to commit to eating healthier. Since it is an economic problem, the responsibility of changing the food commodity program falls on local government to ensure that even those below the poverty line receive adequate nutrition so that they may be healthy.

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