CHRIS LEE BLOG 3

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A recent study published in an open-access journal, Public Library of Science (PLoS) Medicine, found a partial explanation of a trend in industrialized democracies – those a part of the lower class in the economic ladder were more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Poor health behaviors like smoking and unhealthy diets led to higher levels of obesity and inflammation in the blood. This issue, as a result of poverty may review how from a lack of opportunity to move out of the zone of socio-economic based off of health, there is greater risks that prevents upward mobility.

Over the course of 24 years beginning in 1985 over 6000 participants were tracked to gauge their socio-economic “life course.” The research classified participants from their educational level and economic status over their “life course” or during childhood their status was based off their fathers work status. After a 10 year period which marked their highest level of education, the results were compiled to fit where each participant fell on the socio-economic ladder. The results suggest that those on the lower end of the socio-economical ladder after between those years showed higher developments of Type 2 diabetes than those of higher education and higher economic circumstances. The lower class tended to have higher rates of diabetes because of poor health decisions. “Compared to those of higher positions with more education, they were more likely to smoke, to be sedentary, to be obese, and to have an unhealthy diet.” All these factors contribute to what we have been suggestion in class under class inequality. Much of what social inequality would suggest,the poor tend to have limited opportunities to health lifestyles due to poor living standards and wages. The decisions that lead to unhealthy diets and malnutrition may be from the fact one cannot afford to eat healthier or have time to prepare an environment that reduces such risks. As this article found, those of higher economic standards or those able to have upward social mobility tended to have lower levels of inflammation and diabetes.

The difference is enough to see a real problem between the lower and upper classes. Compared to those with higher education and family standings, it can be suggested that those who work minimum wage jobs have much more at risk. There are more problems than just working and living, but may have health responsibilities that may trouble them as their life continues.

I would say that those of poor economic standing just dont have the funds to spend on healthy alternatives or lack the behavior to allow for healthy decisions like exercise or dieting. As a result, inflammation of the blood, which can lead to diabetes, becomes a greater risk for the poor. With fast food and junk food being so cheap and quick, the choices of sacrificing food nutrition to pay the costs of rent and other bills is easy to understand. Given the lower levels of income and/or wealth, its easy to see how the poor are left with more of a burden financially. In terms of diabetes and health, the article suggests that tackling the “socio-economical differences in inflammation” may help reduce social inequalities in Type 2 diabetes. Preventing further risks for diabetes for the poor may prove to help more than just reduce risks and cost expenditures, but it may be a start to helping improve behaviors that drive toward greater opportunities in health and decision making, and in a way help reduce the differences in lower and upper societies. Education, work benefits like unionizing, or flexibility with work environments are also key factors in the troubles of poverty but play a role outside the home, whereas health plays a role outside the working roles. As low paying jobs tend to be more work and left spending more hours on the job, the decisions to care for personal health and nutrition outside the working environment are not primarily priority. The focus tends to always be on income, wealth and work. Given the choice and opportunity to make such decisions to stray from inflammatory causes, I’m sure there can be a reduction of risk for the poor and greater focus in work. This may be one way, at least in the area of risk and health, that may help reduce social inequality both in health and an overflow into the economy.

 

ARTICLE: http://www.latimes.com/news/science/sciencenow/la-sci-economy-inflammation-diabetes-20130702,0,1830217.story

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