liveonearth (liveonearth) wrote,

Immunology: 3 paragraphs on unnatural causes

I did not attend the screening at NCNM, instead I went to classmates' houses to view three segments of the program on PBS. After the first one the show began to seem like a broken record. People who have less money, less insurance, less transport, less contacts, etc have less access to the fine healthcare that is supposedly available in the US. We know this already. This program provided specific examples of socioeconomic variables that correlate with better or worse healthcare.

One program was based on a life expectancy map of Louisville, Kentucky. The camera travelled around and showed us various neighborhoods with the highest, lowest, and middle life expectancies. As you might expect, the highest life expectancy area shown was an upper middle class home with a large lawn and a dinner table filled with fresh organic greens and other high dollar foods. At the other end of the spectrum was the black neighborhood, or the poor white slum, in which a mother was trying to feed a house full of hungry kids on $100/week.

Another segment featured the Tohono O'otum tribe of southern Arizona, which was given as the tribe with the highest rate of type II diabetes in the US. One native who was interviewed remarked that he was checked off and put on meds and "approved" as yet another diabetic tribal member. It was presented as if diagnosing the people and getting them on pharmaceuticals was some incredible breakthrough in terms of healthcare. I was disappointed to see that Unnatural Causes did not challenge the sickcare paradigm. There was no mention of the fact that type II diabetes can be not just treated but cured with a combination of appropriate diet and exercise.

One of the segments went into a little bit of detail about the effects of stress, and related stress to socioeconomics by suggesting that poor people deal with more stress than those who are better off. In every segment the central message was the same, that people with more money and influence get better healthcare, earlier diagnosis, have better food to eat, get more exercise, etc etc etc. I admit that after carefully watching the first program, our group tended to drift away from the program and into various discussions rather than watching all that closely. We were disappointed with the redundancy and shallowness of the reporting. Americans are not that stupid. Yes, it is an important message, but it was repeated in each hour program as if it was a whole new idea. There is a lot that even poor people can do for themselves, given just a little information. I guess it will by up to the naturopaths to do the education, because television is still treating us like dodos.
Tags: healthcare, homework, immunology, insurance, poverty, public health, stress, television, tribes

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