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Inequality Affects Us Public Health

Essay by   •  November 6, 2012  •  Essay  •  297 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,379 Views

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"Inequality Affects US Public Health"

Kay H. Smith, who studied public health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, wrote this article to show how her belief, that most health issues were largely self-inflicted, had changed. She mentions that one of the main concepts public health students are taught is "social determinants of health". Poverty, poor education, and limited opportunities for jobs are all determinants that cause stress, which generates the production of cortisol. Medical researchers have found that this over-production of cortisol can lead to common health risks like diabetes and heart disease. In the 21st century, American's are losing touch with the American Dream due to the recession, which furthers the production of cortisol. Other countries with better economies like Japan and Denmark, are overall healthier, and have higher life expectancies than that of an American. After researching and speculating Smith came to believe that though individual life choices do play a role, accessible quality health care should be improved. In order to ensure the health of our upcoming generations we, as a society, will have to play an active role in achieving better policies addressing the inequality issues.

This piece of literature challenges the status quo in many ways. The article is stating that the income inequality in America is detrimental to the country's overall health. By saying this, it is challenging the current class system in America. A class system by which we've operated under since the late 1800's. The message Kay Smith represents is a message of societal change regarding the unjust income inequality that all Americans face on a daily basis. Kay is calling to attention the need for change within the modern social structure of America. This article provokes critical thinking in relation to our society as a whole.

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