In Sickness and in Wealth

I got 6 answers correct out of 10 on the health equity quiz. The statistic that was most surprising to me was that wealth was the biggest factor in determining whether an individual would be considered healthy or not. I always assumed that genetics and lifestyle would play a much bigger role in determining the state of someone’s health, not whether they were wealthy or not. I also assumed that some people were just naturally predisposed to be healthier than others and that wealth would not affect one’s health, but after taking the quiz, I realized that wealth can affect a number of factors related to health, such as stress, access to health care, and access to healthy food and good methods of exercise. It is unfortunate that some of these diseases can cause others to become predisposed to them as well even if they are more well-off than their parents were at the time of the disease becoming prevalent. It is also difficult for individuals living in poverty to get out of poverty, which can negatively affect their health as well.

One of the case studies from Unnatural Causes: “In Sickness and in Wealth” followed a lab technician who went back to school to get ahead and considered herself to be middle class. The video explained how education can increase lifespan by up to 2 1/2 years but can also be inaccessible due to the high cost of higher education in the United States. Only about 15% of people in the woman’s district had their degree and those who didn’t would suffer a shorter lifespan than those who did, only about 75 years on average. The video also followed a CEO of a company living in an upper-class district. In this district, almost 65% of people living there had their college degree and their average lifespan was 79 years, a big difference compared to the middle class district.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Naomi Fleischmann says:

    The health disparity that was noted in “In Sickness and in Wealth” is one that has been stumping doctors and even politicians for years. The problem with any proposed solution is that it requires either one side to give up the money they rightfully earned or for the other side to spend money that they do not have. The best solution that I can give is for the people on the lower end of the economical spectrum. As unfortunate as it may be, I believe that those people who are struggling to feed their children, let alone themselves, (1) should not have had children in the first place and (2) may have to consider moving to a smaller house or a cheaper, possibly less safe, area in order to continue to provide for their family. For those families that are poor and have not yet had children, they should be encouraged not to have children until they are economically stable, or possibly never have children if they do not believe they will ever be stable. As much as someone may want kids, it is not fair to the child to bring him into the world if his parents are not even able to provide him with food for every meal of the day. This is an economical solution because by saving the money that one may have had to spend on a child, he is creating an economically sound future for himself/herself. I believe that the only person who should be in charge of this sort of health disparity is the person with the health problem. The “sickness” of being poor is not one that can be cured by a doctor, and it is not one that the government should be trying to fix because they will inevitably change the economic conditions of those who did not need to have anything changed. As unfortunate as it may sound, a person must take responsibility for his own life because those who are not willing to help themselves are not worthy of help from others.

  2. Alisyn Korpela says:

    The economic disparity of the world is very unsettling. The difference between one nation and another is one thing, but the difference that can exist between one town and another is astounding. In the health equity quiz, I was not very surprised to find out that one’s wealth is the biggest factor in determining their health. Being economically stable is crucial for many aspects of one’s life. For example, eating processed food from a fast food restaurant compared to freshly picked vegetables from a farmer’s market can determine the longevity of an individual life just like one’s living situation for example, let’s say a homeless person on the streets of Chicago compared to a wealthy CEO living in a pent house suite in Manhattan. These financially diverse individuals will seek very different lives from one another, all because of how much money they have.
    Having enough money to be able to afford an education is very important in today’s world. According to this post, having an education can increase one’s lifespan by 2.5 years. The problem, though, is that this promising education is inaccessible to many people because of the incredibly high cost. My solution to this problem is simple (one would think), to stop raising the cost of higher education. As the price increases, opportunity to attend decreases. I would describe this solution as economical, individual, and political. In addition, I would place the government responsible for the rise in cost, along with the rise of importance placed upon higher education, which in turn, put the longevity of people’s lives in their hands.

  3. Ashley Webb says:

    I was just reading your post about the case study and I found it to be very interesting. Stress is very important and it should not be taken lightly. Stress can have a really big impact on an individuals health because of the strain it puts on someone. Stress can eventually weaken the immune system making some more prone to diseases such as heart attacks, strokes, hypertension etc. I do believe there is a partial solution for these for this disparity. In order to prevent the workers of the factory from stressing and worrying about how they are going to make ends meet, I believe that once the factory was closed the workers should have been placed into another factory closest to them. Another solution is, the owners could have compensated the workers or the government should have provided them with some form of income until they were able to land other jobs. Yes money may have been scarce but it’s not fair to leave the employers out on their own. If the government could have assisted these individuals in finding a job it would have alleviated some of the employers stress, allowing them some breathing room. I believe that the government and the factory owners should have been responsible for providing these individuals with some form of compensation. I also believe that the factory workers should have been informed months prior to the closing of the factory.

  4. Natasha Mehta says:

    Coming up with a plausible solution to the effects that economic differences have on people’s health is very challenging in our society. Because of how America’s healthcare is set up, having more money means you have access to better healthcare. Because of this, it is no surprise that wealthier people in this nation have greater life expectancies than the poor. Also, having a higher education leads to obtaining better jobs that provide better healthcare than lower level jobs. Looking at other countries, one possible solution is to have universal healthcare. However, because of politics and the size of our country, it is not as easy to implement than other smaller (mainly European) countries that have been successful at it. Also, I believe our attitude has a lot to do with it being so difficult to change. The American attitude can be much more selfish than those other countries. So, I believe a change in healthcare is a political solution, but locally we, as Americans must change our attitudes as well. Although we must change our attitudes, ultimately the government would be responsible for solving the crisis of such a wide spectrum of types of healthcare in America based on wealth.

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