Unnatural Causes

Unnatural Causes

The video that we saw in class this week was not very surprising because it’s obvious that lower socioeconomic status will result in fewer resources. That means less money to buy healthy food and to purchase living quarters in an area that has less crime, fewer environment health hazards, and a better neighborhood. The result of these inequalities comes in the form of higher rates of obesity, asthma, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and a slew of other negative health problems. Life expectancy is cut short, as shown by the graphics in the video. This makes me wonder: how much of a person’s health is about their life choices and how much is due to their environment? No one is raised in a vacuum, but we can’t blame society entirely for people’s shortcomings. It’s a lot easier to be healthier in high socioeconomic status, so that presents another question: What can we do to reduce the incidence of negative health problems in lower-income communities? We could have initiatives to grow gardens to provide fresh vegetables in communities, make huge efforts to reduce crime (which would reduce stress levels), clean up the environment so how. What are your thoughts?

16 thoughts on “Unnatural Causes

  1. This video made me think about a video I’ve seen in my World History class in high school on how the income in United States is very much imbalance. The top 10% and 1% have all the money while everything goes down from then. I always wonder why can’t the top 1% just donate at least 50,000 to each poor families that are in the lower 10%. How hard can’t it be to give some of the billions of money that they own? Why can’t they just be nice and help out? I still don’t know the answer to this other than social reasons, which is you have to earn it in order to get it, but even that reason isn’t strong enough for me to accept. The small changes that you’ve mentioned are nice to have, and it’s better than nothing, but I do feel a little bit hopeless about it ever changing. The economy is just far too messy. It will take hundreds of years for it to ever be fair.

  2. I agree that, although interesting, I was not surprised by the video. Sadly, health and income disparities go hand in hand and are commonplace in today’s society. I agree with Thea in the fact that it sometimes wears down in me to that point that I lose hope in a majority of the corruption to ever end. It is, however, most important to educate others on the growing income and health gap in society. I agree wholeheartedly with Robert that if we can’t totally fix the income gap, it is a simple fix to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to those in need, possibly with farmers markets or donations.

  3. I would definitely agree with the fact that a lower socioeconomic status leads to a more difficult pathway to a healthy lifestyle due to a lack of resources. While it may be easy to say “eat healthy” or “stay fit” the resources, time, and money that goes into actually doing those things makes it a lot easier said than done. I think your idea on creating resourceful events or opportunities in low-income communities, such as growing a fresh garden, is a great place to start. Moreover, things such as free exercise classes led by people willing to volunteer their time would be a good initiative to bridge the gap between lower-income families and proper health.

  4. I agree that a lower socioeconomic status will result in fewer resources which can result in higher rates for diseases and overall poor health. There were a lot of things in the video that we looked at before such as race disparities. However, it is still surprising that your environment can have such long lasting effects. It is really hard to say eat healthier and exercise more is a solution to these health problems in American society. Obviously people from lower SES have less access to resources so the question rises, what can we do to get ride of this health disparity? In my opinion, the government and/or the local community should start initiatives to provide cheap and healthy options to low SES families like you said. However, I think that this isn’t enough. Just providing health food isn’t going to solve all of the other problems people of a low SES face. They could be living in a neighborhood by a factory because housing is cheaper there or they could be working three jobs at minimum wage so they don’t have time to prepare this healthy food. There are other problems that we also need to solve.

  5. I agree that even though the SES of a given population tends to put them at a disadvantage compared to those of weather status, those disadvantages should not only be attributed to the environment that they live in. Although it would be a good idea to take initiatives to increase the overall health quality of the more deprived communities, it would be difficult to sustain that process because it can be costly. There have always been cheaper alternatives to help the lower income population, so it would be difficult to establish something that people would be willing to take advantage of. When considering crime and environmental issues, it would also take a large amount of money to help increase the overall health quality of these neighborhoods. However, I do believe that it is possible to start taking initiative in order to help at a little at a time.

  6. You bring up several important points in your discussion. I would like to address the inquiry you proposed regarding the extent to which one’s health is governed by their choices or their environment. I believe firmly in a triarchic model that influences health: biological, psychological, and social. The distinction between these three realms is not always explicit, though often a bias toward one particular realm can be particularly striking. Nevertheless, while many disease can be linked to environmental influences, ultimately the personal choice to approach one’s situation is most controllable. In a broad sense, the inevitability of external affairs cannot be regulated by individual choice. How one intrinsically responds, whether positively or negatively, to external stressors definitely helps to predict possible health outcomes. The video should have placed more emphasis on the role of stress and the individual response to such stress as opposed to merely divulging socioeconomic situations. While SES is a contributor to health outcomes, the potential for optimal personal health, given the circumstances of one’s existence, is at its maximum when adequate consideration is given to the subject of stress and the most beneficial individual responses.

  7. It’s a lot easier to be healthier in high socioeconomic status, so that presents another question: What can we do to reduce the incidence of negative health problems in lower-income communities?

    I think an answer to this question is that we must make healthy eating more financially viable for price sensitive shoppers.

    Another question that was posed regarding how to reduce income inequality has many answers. One answer is to provide better educational opportunities for these impoversihed people.

  8. I agree this video, while interesting, did not present any new information. I have seen first-hand how socioeconomic status affects quantity of resources at one’s disposal. More specifically, I have seen how healthcare in particular is affected by socioeconomic status through my experiences volunteering at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. Personally I think the most effective means of improving conditions in these types of areas is through education. Often times we see a correlation between socioeconomic status and education levels that contribute to the negative health issues at hand.

  9. I was also not surprised by the video we watched in lecture. Like many others indicated, most people in low socioeconomic statues cannot afford to buy healthy foods, move to a more safe neighborhood. As a result, people of low socioeconomic status have many health issues.
    I believe in community service and giving back to not just the community I came from, but all communities. For the first 8 years of my life, I lived in a decent neighborhood in Detroit. My family was fortunate enough to move out of Detroit. Even though I did move out of Detroit, I continued to go to school there. While I was in high school, I had the opportunity to help clean and restore a garden that was in Detroit. I had no idea this garden even existed! I just thought it was such an amazing thing to be apart of because even though the garden was so small, it was a start to brightening up Detroit. Although Detroit has a long way to go, in terms of improvement of the environment, little things like planting a garden, or building grocery stores like Meijer’s and Whole Foods (might be a little too expensive), are steps moving forward. One of my goals, after I am well into my career,is that I want to be involved in a non-profit organization to improve the health/environment of Detroit.

  10. I agree with all of the above posts that it is not very surprising that lower socioeconomic status is positively correlated to adverse health conditions. It is common sense that if you don’t have a lot of money, you won’t be able to afford healthy foods and top quality healthcare. I also agree that a lack of education in these poor communities contributes significantly to the inability of future generations to escape these health issues. What I think we need to do is target communities that are lower in income and focus on ensuring that the children in these communities get high school diplomas and go to college.

  11. I also think that the information in the video was not that surprising; the video did do a great job at summarizing how societal factors may influence individual’s health, and it provides many factual, real-life proofs that show us how one’s life and health can be so different based on one’s SES status.
    I think that on a more local / community level, more resources need to be allocated to low SES neighborhoods. This includes: more healthy grocery stores, more neighborhood security initiatives, more exercising facilities, and cleaner environment, etc. If these improvements can provide the residents with closer, more affordable options, they can promote healthier behaviors among the residents. Sadly, many policy makers ignore the needs of the low SES communities, resulting in little to no action to improve the living conditions of low SES community.
    On a systematic level, however, the fundamental issue of huge income inequality needs to be addressed. Income inequality in itself is not a bad thing; but the extend of income inequality in the U.S. has reached a point where the lower part of the income gradient has no way of making a living, whereas the top 1% has most of the resources. One way to change that is to make education more affordable. In that way, more people can get better education, better careers, and lift themselves above the poverty line.

  12. I agree that the video was not surprising to me at all, but every time I watch a video like that it motivates me to keep doing what I am doing so I can be in the state to give back and improve low income environments. It makes me upset seeing individuals struggle so much and can’t do much about it. The lack of education becomes a cycle sometimes in the lower income socioeconomic areas, but it takes only one to break that cycle. The environment these individuals live in gives them no hope of a brighter future because they feel like they are stuck in this bubble or “status”, but they can overcome this. The struggle they are going through now will only make them stronger in the future and they will have a story to tell. Seeing the data of the years people are expected to live in the different classes always hits me hard. The lower income individuals have less money, less education, younger death age, but more stress which doesn’t help the situation they are living in. My goal is to give back to communities like these and make a vast difference in their lives.

  13. I think environment plays a bigger role that choice does when it comes to someone’s health care. Rob made a point to say that we cannot blame society for people shortcomings but if liquor stores, McDonald’s and low rate markets are purposely placed in areas with a low socio-economic status then I think it is pretty fair to assume that those people were handed the short end of the stick by society. In order to the incident of negative health in areas of low socio-economic status I think that there should be more access to places with healthier food choices. I also think it would also help if there were community events that help with rebuilding communities. This could help people come together and provide them with a safe space while also helping the community look better. I think it would be difficult to help with the crime rates within an area simply because crime can not really be narrowed down to one cause; on the other hand, this could definitely help a community and the people that live within it.

  14. I also and agree and wasn’t shocked at the direct relationship created between socioeconomic status and the access to resources in a community. To solve this problem I would agree with many of you by saying that lower socioeconomic environments should have access to healthier food options instead of the usual neighborhood stores. I think the start of healthier food chains could be a good wait to a change in the social environment of society. One good thing could lead to a chain of better things in the future because those that live in a society that is not striving t be better will continue in the cycle of negative outcomes.

  15. I was also not surprised by the video shown in class last Thursday. It seems that in every area of a lower socioeconomic status that resources are always limited. This is very heartbreaking but it honestly seems like this is something that will never change . The lack of many resources in one community compared to a better community about 20 miles away is just outrageous. It seems that if areas end up in a bad place, they are never restored or fixed back into what they used to be. If people continue to let the government and higher officials continuously put liquor stores on their corners then their area of living will never get better. People should stand up and try to make a change in making their communities a better place, which is something the government (people who don’t live there) won’t do for them.

  16. I agree with all of your statements. With regard to your question, it made me think. I feel as if a persons environment is a predominant factor when it comes to health. If one were to live in a lower income area then they are automatically predisposed to receive lower quality health care. In some cases there aren’t even clinics within the area so access is also an issue because of the area in which they live. This is very surprising because one would think that everyone has access to getting their health taken care of or everyone receives the same quality healthcare but thats just not the case. The video was really an eye opener as to what people go through every single day.

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