Health Inequity in Society Due To Wealth and Racism

Health Inequity in Society Due To Wealth and Racism

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Abstract

This essay looks into the social determinants of health. The two major social determinants being looked at in the paper are poverty and racism. The essay also looks at a case study on how unequal distribution of resources and racism contribute to poor social health.

Health Inequity in Society Due to Wealth and Racism

Unequal distribution of wealth in the United States of America contributes to the disparity in health among people of different social classes. People who are wealthy enjoy better healthcare services and less likely to fall sick. People from the middle and lower classes are prone to diseases due to lack of access to better healthcare services as well as other external factors such as stress, and exposure to hazardous environments.

My thoughts on this topic of wealth is health is that it is an important topic because it focuses on an issue that affects majority of the population in the US. Discussions on this topic will create awareness and promote equal distribution of resources. The topic also covers external factors that lead to poor health among the poor people such as racism, low paying jobs, and lack of proper housing. Discussions should be encouraged in order to improve national health.

The major health equity concern in this case study is variance in socioeconomic status. Rich people enjoy better health care services while the poor lack access to proper health care services, hence the phrase “wealth is health”.

The major social determinants that contribute to inequity in this case study are poverty and racism. In the USA, 10% of the population in the upper class is wealthier than the 90% of the population in the lower classes (“UNNATURAL CAUSES | About the series . Episode descriptions | CALIFORNIA NEWSREEL”, 2008). Data from Louisville Metro Public Health Department shows a five and ten year gaps in mortality rate. Out five children living in the USA, at least one lives in poverty (21%) (“UNNATURAL CAUSES | About the series . Episode descriptions | CALIFORNIA NEWSREEL”, 2008). The situation is different in Sweden where only 4% of children live in poverty. The major reason for this variance is that people from the lower classes struggle with numerous stressors. The low income jobs do not pay enough money to cater for their basic needs. Low income leads to debt through accumulation of unpaid bills. Despite being paid less, people from the lower class do not have control over their work schedule. The poor living conditions which are unsafe make parents to constantly worry about their children’s safety. All these stressors make poor people prone to diseases and early death. Their lack of resources also increase their chances of dying because they do not have access to proper healthcare facilities which are costly.

Racism is another cause of poor health in America. Research shows that America has the highest number of infants dying before their first birthday. The number of infant deaths is twice as many among the black Americans as it is among the whites. Racism affects even black women who are well educated and wealthy. James Collins and Richard David who are neonatologists stated that African American women are more prone to health risks during pregnancy as a result of accumulated racism encounters despite their social status. Michael Lu states that chronic stress is a major cause of premature labor. Michael Lu says that racism leads to anxiety and the release of stress hormones which when constantly activated over a long time causes the body organs and system to be worn out as well as triggering premature birth. Dr. Camara Jones notes that racism is not easily noticed among people of color in the USA but it adds up to the stressors in a persons daily life.

In conclusion, unequal distribution of wealth and racism contribute to poor health among American citizens. Low income, poor living standards, and exposure to hazardous environments are all stressors that contribute to poor health. Racism constantly triggers the activation of the stress response hormones which weakens the body making it prone to diseases and early death. The issue of inequity can be resolved by coming up with more equitable social policies that focus on improving health care.

References

UNNATURAL CAUSES | About the series . Episode descriptions | CALIFORNIA NEWSREEL. (2008). Retrieved 28 August 2019, from https://unnaturalcauses.org/episode_descriptions.php?page=1

WHO | Key concepts. Retrieved 28 August 2019, from https://www.who.int/social_determinants/thecommission/finalreport/key_concepts/en/