With American being known at the “melting pot” of the world, is it actually possible to have that all societies, communities, ethnic groups be looked upon as equal without racism? Since there are currently so many different health disparities and issues throughout each commu- nity in the United States, there must be some factors that have unknowingly been neglected when creating different policies order to increase everyones overall well-being (especially those with lower qualities of life).
On a national scale, black Americans and white Americans generally have very different health disparities.This could be contributed by many different factors, like for example, the place in which individuals live, whether it is the actual built environment or the socioeconomic environment. For example, in an low-income community, there may be less hous- ing available and what is available may subject the individuals to increased exposure to health risks. In the study performed by T. LaVeist, et al. (2011), Place, Not Race: Disparities Dissipate In Southwest Baltimore When Black and Whites Live Under Same Conditions, the authors sought out to learn if the racial health disparities that are reported in nationally still remain when black and white Americans live in integrated settings.
This study was performed in Southwest Baltimore, Maryland, where both black and white Americans lived in the same socieconomical, social, and environmental conditions. The participants that partici- pated had about the same statistics (35% black males, 35% white males, medium income of . 85 and 1.
15 between both races, and high school graduation rates between . 85 and 1. 15).Data was 2 collected on nationally significant reported health disparities of hypertension, diabetes, obesity among women, smoking and use of health care services.
When compared to national data, almost all of the disparities either vanished or substantially narrowed. Racial differences may be a par- tial cause of the disparities that are generally found in national data. According to the results on this study, when social factors were equalized, racial dispari- ties were drastically minimized.So this raises the question, “is the reason for health issues based on the ethnic race (black, white, hispanic, etc) in the community or is it the place (built or eco- nomical environments) that the race(s) are living in? ”.
Many may assume health disparities are linked to the minority/race and they also live in low-income communities. Instead, society needs to take a different approach and realize that it could be the lack of resources (accessibility to healthy foods, health services, and recreational activities) along with the mental stress that is put on a person who is living in an low-income setting could be the reasons for poor health among different races.America, the “melting pot” isn’t as melted as some may picture it to be.
While occupied by numerous different ethnic groups, economical statues, cultures, etc, there are still very large gaps on the “financial ladder” that everyone is so desperately trying to climb. With that being said, this study was limited because it does not represent society on a whole, but it is interesting to see the outcome of the study and how the results differed from the data collected nationally.For example, according to data from the National Heath Interview Survey on smoking, there is no significant difference in smoking status or in the amount of cigarettes smoked a day when compared racially (between black and white Americans). According to the American Lung Asso- CIATION, “PREVALENCE OF CURRENT SMOKING IN 2009 WAS HIGHEST AMONG NON-HISPANIC WHITES (22. 2%)INTERMEDIATE AMONG NON-HISPANIC BLACKS (21.
3%), AND LOWEST AMONG HISPANICS (14. 5%) 3 AND ASIANS (12. 0%)”(AMERICAN LUNG ASSOCIATION, 2014). BUT IN SOUTHWEST BALTIMORE, THERE WAS a broad difference between black Americans and white Americans who smoked; white Ameri-cans in this study had higher odds of being a smoker and on average smoked more cigarettes daily. In my opinion, the results in this study supported the authors question on practically all of the topics that were focused on.While I do agree with many conclusions that the authors stated about each topic that was studies, I also felt that the authors also made a few conclusions that seemed a bit steep.
For instance, the results showing a significant different between black Ameri- cans and white Americans being smokers, the authors offered an explanation that elucidated the results. The authors explained that the results were due to differences in social and environmental exposures that are results of segregation, partially accounting for racial differences in smoking patterns found nationally.I feel these results could be interpreted from multiple points of view.
One way could be to presume that black Americans are the minority in society. If this was the case, then you would also presume that black Americans would be more exposed to the stressful conditions of a low-income lifestyles, thus result in those individuals having an overall unhealthy predisposition.Another way to view the results that completely opposes the past statement is to interpret the statistical results that state that white Americans who live in Southwest Baltimore have greater odds to be a smoker could be a direct result of white Americans do not typically live in low-income setting which may induce more stress on those individuals who are not used too living in those conditions when compared to minorities that are more accustom to it.As a result, adversely affecting the white Americans, thus promoting unhealthy habits like smoking and smoking more cigarettes on a daily basis. 4 As I further my education in the public health field, I feel that policies and/or interven- tions should be addressed when discussing how to make an impact on a community or society. When creating a policy focused on changing either health behavior, biological differences among racial groups or health care accessibility, the chances of lessening racial disparities become far more difficult to achieve.As seen in this study, when everyone in a community is within the same economical range, there are almost no disparities affecting one group over another.In order to elude social determinants of health that may be linked to place, policies need to improve health care resources in low-income communities, for example, setting up transportation systems to allow residents accessibility to health care centers.
One policy that the United States has im- plemented is the Affordable Care Act, which is defined in this study as a way to “attempt to ad- dress problems associated with health care financing and delivery systems that heightened by residential segregation”. According to the U. S.Department of Health and Human Resources, “THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT PUTS CONSUMERS BACK IN CHARGE OF THEIR HEALTH CARE. UNDER THE LAW, A NEW ‘PATIENT’S BILL OF RIGHTS’ GIVES THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THE STABILITY AND FLEXIBILITY THEY NEED TO MAKE INFORMED CHOICES ABOUT THEIR HEALTH. ” (U.
S DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN RESOURCES, 2014) After reading this article, my views of race, place, and health disparities have changed and expanded.It was interesting to see such significant difference between the local and national data. I think if different races and cultures that live within the same community shared similar so-cieconomical statues, there would be a chance that inequalities would lessen and the societies overall well-being may increase. Since there wouldn’t be financial or social stressors put on indi- viduals, that would allow everyone to focus more on their own health, which ultimately could make a national difference! 5 Reference Page 6 American Lung Association. (2014) Smoking.Retrieved from http://www. lung.
org/stop- smoking/about-smoking/health-effects/smoking. html U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (2014, October 21) About The Law. Re- trieved from http://www.
hhs. gov/healthcare/rights/index. html