Social epidemiologist Paula Lantz reveals what actually leads to premature deaths among Americans. Obesity? No. Poverty? Yes.
By Tom Jacobs (Aug 11, 2010)
So why is being poor hazardous to your health?
Paula Lantz: Stress processes probably play a role. Chronic stress is not good for immune function. [Difficulties with] housing, transportation, income security — all those factors can produce stress. Do you have friends and family — people who can actually help you get to the doctor? Is your community organized in such a way that it provides the resources you need?
Miller-McCune: Do you think the health care reform bill that recently passed will have an impact in terms of lessening the disparities in health in this country?
PL: The bill that passed is a big beast. The main thing it does is extend health insurance coverage to a greater number of Americans. That’s a good thing, a necessary thing, but it’s not sufficient to reduce disparities. There is funding in the bill for more community-based prevention. That’s a good start. There is recognition within the bill that health and health care are not the same thing.
M-M: What factors are you looking at as this new system begins to take shape?
PL: I’m worried that the focus will be on the health insurance exchanges and expanding Medicaid, while the broader mission of public health will be subsumed. In public health, we talk about primary prevention — let’s stop diseases before they occur.
by Katherine Gustafson (Aug 17, 2010)
…a patient with a poor diet and little money will be much more interested in eating right if he or she gets a doctor’s slip worth $1 a day to be redeemed only at a farmers’ market. Not only does the doctor’s intervention let patients know that their health is threatened by diet-related issues, the free cash will motivate a corrective action.
This concept was originally pioneered by the Boston-area healthcare foundation CAVU Foundation (Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited) as part of its Healthy Weight Initiative. The organization’s efforts were on a limited and local scale, though, so this year the charity is partnering with Wholesome Wave to pilot the “Fruit and Veggie Rx” program. At a recent meeting of all of Wholesome Wave’s partners, a breakout meeting with CAVU representatives drew a large crowd of enthusiastic folks from farmers’ markets and food-related foundations around the country. A spirited discussion ensued, in which it was clear that many in the circle felt this type of program could produce a massive positive change in eating habits if implemented broadly.
Phi Beta Iota: The above articles reinforce our holistic analytic model on Global Threats based on the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges & Change which states that poverty is the #1 Global Threat, even in the United States. Below are links to a few of our graphics representing our unique holistic view on analytics.