Becoming American

I was very surprised at my results on the Health Equity Quiz. I only scored a fifty percent, but what was most alarming to me were the statistics given with the answer. The fact that even though the technology in America has progressed extensively in the last fifty years when other, poorer nations have not, we have fallen twenty-five places in the world life expectancy rankings. This is quite startling, considering that we spend significantly more per person on health care. I have been introduced to a few studies regarding the correlation between wealth and health, but never thought that it was to the extent that it is currently. Some of the statistics about differences between neighborhoods, counties, and ethnic groups were quite eye opening.

I chose to write about the “Becoming American” unnatural causes piece. During the health equity quiz, I found it interesting that recent Latino immigrants had the best health out of any subgroup. This film explained and analyzed a few possible explanations. I think there are actually very few genetic factors that account for differences in health disparities. This is very evident when we compare the health of recent immigrants and their health after they have been in America for a decade or more. I think initially, when Latino’s come to America, they have very strong family ties and all work together to help one another be successful in this new place. They are excited to begin working to achieve the American Dream, and this optimism and the importance of family, I believe, is a large reason why there is a much lower rate of psychiatric illness. However, the years in America take a toll on Latino families. They have to work long hours in low paying, labor jobs that keeps them away from their families. Over time, this breaks down the strong family ties that were initially present. These jobs are also very strenuous to an individual’s health, and most rarely, if ever, take vacations or even time to go to a doctor. I think most Americans believe that globalization and technology should improve the health of our society, but I agree with the film that it also creates an immense social isolation. This isolation becomes the cause of just about any category of illness.

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