PBS Series on Health Inequalities

April 4, 2008 at 8:48 am Leave a comment

PBS is in the midst of airing a documentary series “Unnatural Causes: Is Health Inequality Making Us Sick?” The series “goes beyond popular conceptions linking health to medical care, lifestyles and genes to explore evidence of other more powerful determinants: the social conditions in which we are born, live and work.” Here is a description from the producers:

It often appears that we Americans are obsessed with health. Media outlets trumpet the latest gene and drug discoveries, dietary supplements line shelf after shelf in the supermarket and a multi-billion dollar industry of magazines, videos and spas sells healthy “lifestyles.” We spend more than twice what the average rich country spends per person on medical care. Yet we have among the worst disease outcomes of any industrialized nation – and the greatest health inequities. It’s not just the poor who are sick. Even the middle classes die, on average, almost three years sooner than the rich.

At every step down the socio-economic ladder, African Americans, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders often fare worse than their white counterparts. Interestingly, that’s not the case for most new groups of immigrants of color. Recent Latino immigrants, for example, though typically poorer than the average American, have better health. But the longer they live here, the more their health advantage erodes.

You can check out the listings for WXXI here. Some of the episodes that you may have missed are re-airing on WXXI’s digital channels (for digital cable subscribers).

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Entry filed under: In the News.

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