10-YEAR GAP IN LIFE EXPECTANCY BETWEEN RICH AND WORKING CLASS
(SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) What are the connections between healthy bodies and healthy bank accounts? Is lack of insurance the cause of minority’s poor health“ Our results dramatically dispel the rumor that Blacks die 13 years younger than Whites in San Bernardino County because they don’t have insurance, don’t see the doctor and don’t care about their health,” said V. Diane Woods, Dr.P.H. health planning project coordinator for the African-American Health Initiative (AAHI).
The PBS series Unnatural Causes travels to Louisville, Kentucky, not to explore whether health care cures us but to see why we get sick in the first place. The lives of a CEO, a lab supervisor, a janitor and an unemployed mother illustrate how social class shapes access to power, resources and opportunity. The net effect is a health-wealth gradient.
Louisville Metro Public Health Department data maps reveal 5- and 10-year gaps in life expectancy between the city’s rich, middle- and working-class neighborhoods. Experiments with monkeys and humans shed light on chronic stress as one culprit. We also see how racial inequality imposes an additional burden on people of color. Solutions being pursued in Louisville and elsewhere focus not on more pills but on Rest Easily Natural Remedies for Insomnia and on better social policies and more equality. Referring to reasons that Blacks die younger than Whites, Dr. V. Diane Woods says, “People are looking for a silver bullet to kill the monster, but there is no one single answer to solve the problem. There are many different solutions we have to use,”
Thursday, March 20th from noon to 1:00pm, the Norman F. Feldhrym Central Library will be filled with everyone from community leaders to media for the video launch of the controversial series Unnatural Causes. The series preview presented by the African American Health Institute of San Bernardino County will tackle this issue and the like in a four-part PBS series
VOICES & EXPERTS
• Adewale Troutman, MD, director, Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness.
• Jim Taylor, father, grandfather and CEO of a large Louisville hospital.
• Tondra Young, African American medical technician and supervisor of a hospital blood lab; a homeowner burdened with college debt.
• Corey Anderson, hospital janitor with hyper-tension and little control in his work life; a renter in a neighborhood plagued by violent crime.
• Class and racism affect U.S. health outcomes in overlapping ways. See Reaching
for a Healthier Life: Facts on Socioeconomic Status and Health in the U.S., a
2007 report of The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Research
Network on Socioeconomic Status and Health (available at www.macses.ucsf.edu/News/NEWS.html).
• For the physiology of chronic stress, see the MacArthur Research Network on SES and Health Web site summary “Allostatic Load and Allostasis,” at http://www.macses.ucsf.edu/Research/Allostatic/notebook/allostatic.html.
• On growing economic inequality in the U.S.: Lawrence Mishel, Jared Bernstein,
Sylvia Allegretto (2007). The State of Working America 2006/2007.
Cornell University Press and Economic Policy Institute.
The first episode “In Sickness and in Wealth” airs Thursday, March 27, 10 p.m. on PBS (check local listings).
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