No matter your opinion on the Obamacare debate, there are unnatural causes of this country’s health crises that need fixing. So when the government shut down today,I felt compelled to take a hiatus from posting about Hispanic Heritage and instead share some startling statistics.
1) Wealth equals Health
The single strongest predictor of your good health, is your position on the socioeconomic ladder. Your health is tied to your access to resources. In other words, your zip code is the most powerful indicator of health! Don’t believe me? See how zip codes and class affects life expectancy in this map of Lousiville created by the filmmakers of the disturbing documentary, Unnatural Causes: Is inequality making us sick?
2) Inequity is bad for your Health
Fifty years ago, life expectancy in the U.S. ranked number one in the world. After the 1980’s widening of the economic gap, the U.S. ranks 29th. Today the top 1% own more than the combined ownership of the rest of the 90%. This makes us the most inequitable country.The U.S. also has one of the worst health records.
3) More equity and longer lives for all
Countries like Sweden mitigate the difference between a family’s personal resources and equal access to the country’s resources. They make health care available to both the affluent and to those who work hard to make ends meet. Their citizens live longer and healthier lives than those in the U.S.
4) Your neighborhood can change your life.
White neighborhoods have 4 times as many supermarkets and access to fruits and vegetables than Black and Latino areas. These communities are zoned in ways that there are more liquor stores and fast food franchises than the white neighborhoods. They also have higher rates of diabetes, obesity, and higher blood pressure.
5) There are lessons in the “Latino Paradox”
New Latino immigrants to the U.S. upon arrival have better health than most of the U.S. Population. However, after a mere five years of living in the U.S. their health declines. Within a generation they will be 50% more likely to develop high blood pressure and other health risk factors.
6) Sickness and in Wealth
People in the highest income groups can expect to live at least 61/2 years longer than those in the lowest income bracket. College graduates live five years loner than those who do not finish high school They also live two years more than those who have not finished college.
7) Sick Day or Pay Day
The United States is the only industrialized nation that doesn’t require employers to provide sick leave. 47% of private sector workers are faced with the choice of a sick day or a pay day. Which choice would you or do you make?
8) Third World Health is better
Many African Americans and Native Americans are less likely to reach the age of sixty-five than their counterpart in Bangladesh or Ghana.
9) It’s a tough ladder to climb
3 out of the 4 Americans who, in the 1980’s, started at the lowest rung of the income ladder, are still there.
What are you going to ask your doctor or politician today?
Watch the powerful documentary, Unnatural Causes: Is inequality making us sick? Or examine their comprehensive website to learn more about how class, immigration status, and where you live can change your health.