Public Health 129
Film Response #1
The film, In Sickness and In Wealth, portrays the correlations between the health of an individual and their socioeconomic status. The theory is that when people make more money, they generally have better control over the outcomes of their lives. They are less likely to suffer from health issues such as chronic diseases. They are also more likely able to afford health insurance. The film zooms in on what actually makes us sick, due to the fact that the United States has the top economy in the world, yet ranks 30th in longest lifespan. To test the hypothesis, the film looks into the professional lives of a select group of people residing in Louisville, Kentucky.
The film starts off by examining the professional life of Jim Taylor, one of Louisville’s most affluent residents. He is the executive of a hospital and makes a considerable amount of income. He has more control over the course ...view middle of the document...
When faced with this stress factor, the level of cortisol shoots up. Increased amounts of the hormone over a long time as a result of continuous stress raises the chance of illnesses in people by weakening their immune response.
In the case of Mary Turner, her health is significantly worse than the aforementioned residents. She has suffered a heart attack and in addition to that, she even has thyroid problems and arthritis. Her burdens are further loaded since she has to provide for her children. She struggles to afford the basic necessities such as food and shelter and has to think about how to attain these resources, and most likely does not sleep well at night, if at all. These stress factors, which are not found in people standing on the upper tier of social hierarchy like Taylor, cause her health to deteriorate.
Given these personal accounts from real people, I do believe that socioeconomic status does play a major role in the health of the individual. Those who can afford food and housing have less worries. People who have less stress can pay more attention to their health, regardless if they are able to afford health insurance. However, the government does provide financial support to people living on lower income. My family in particular, benefits from MassHealth insurance, which covers many of our medical costs. The issue with government support is that it varies depending on the location. Not every government in America can provide the same amount of support because their resources are limited depending on where it is located. These facts brings us back to the lives of three individuals from Louisville. Talyor is wealthy and is the corporate executive of a hospital. He lives in a safe neighborhood and has financial stability. He lives a healthy life for his age. Anderson has a successful occupation as well as an Ivy League education. However, she faces stress from those who treat her with racial discrimination. She believes that her health is not as good as a white person who makes the same income as her. Mary Turner has much more stress because she lacks employment and still has to find a way to provide for her family. This is proof that socioeconomic disparities relates to the health of American people.