Wealth and Health in the United States
The United States is regarded as a superpower in terms of wealth, and it is expected that the wealth will boost its health status. However, this is not the case in the American nation as the U.S. health is negatively affected by its wealth. MacDonald (2006) notes that wealth does not necessary guarantee that the health status of a country is reflected in the same manner in the health status (p. 10). In retrospect, MacDonald (2006) notes “Cuba is a small and relatively poor, and yet it health status is slightly better than that of the USA” (p. 10). The problem is that wealth in less developed countries like Cuba seems to be spread all over the citizens, who almost belong to a single class. However, in the developed U.S. wealth is spread over three classes: high earners, the middle class and the poor. Unfortunately, the middle class and the poor are the majority residents of the U.S. and are disadvantaged in accessibility to a proper health treatment. The status of the developed country comes along with a high number of diseases which are a nightmare to the less fortunate in America. On the same note, the lifestyle demands of the Americans prioritize wealth than the health. The modern American lifestyle is based on efficiency, which calls for accountability for time. Accountability for time is driven by the need to engage in productive activities which advance wealth rather than health. The key to the problem lies in prevention of activities such as a healthy lifestyle, and that is the reason why it has attracted a lot of attention to organizations in America. It is worth considering that a number of Americans lead an unhealthy lifestyle in order to make or save more money for survival. On the other hand, the insurance schemes do not cater for the poor with such enthusiasm as they cater for the rich. The wealth gap between the poor and the rich is responsible for the numerous high profile diseases evidenced in the U.S. This social problem is not seriously taken into consideration due to the fact that its impact is not felt on short notice, but rather has prolonged duration.
Healthy People 2020 is aimed at “a society in which all people live long, healthy lives” (“About Healthy People” 2013). This means that the organization realizes the disparities in provision and awareness of health facilities that can improve life and longevity. The organization also realizes that to achieve equal level of health, awareness of prevention measures is the way to pay attention to. First, the organization aims to achieve its goals through identification of all health problems and disparities. Second, creating awareness of simple measures to prevent health problems across all categories of income is the next step. Third, introduction of objectives and goals that are relevant in all categories of income is the final element. After making the efforts, the organization has created various “social and physical environments that promote good health for all” (“About Healthy People” 2013). The organization relies on four key foundational health measures (general health status, health-related quality of life and well-being, determinants of health and disparities) as pointers of evolution towards achieving equal and accessible health care (“About Healthy People” 2013). Income inequality is a prevailing problem in the U.S. and is to be blamed for the unequal awareness of health prevention problems. An office of Minority Health and Health Equity has been formed in the U.S. to address the health and wealth problem by eliminating health disparities from the susceptible population characterized by race, socio-economic status, age and gender. A more realistic approach is when the government creates a standard platform for accessing equal healthcare despite the differences in the wealth status. The program should be initiated as soon as possible in order to merge with the goals of Healthy People 2020.
I believe that the problem of wealth and health problem is rooted in the education system. The education system does not offer a viable platform for the Americans to evade the wealth and health problem. Therefore, even if it offers this, the Americans are not used to its availability. The education system is not focused on providing the Americans with the knowledge to engage in a healthy lifestyle. I would recommend that the education system should be integrated as a platform for creating awareness while offering educative lessons and practices of preventing health problems.
The educational approach that I recommend should be implemented in two scenarios: theory and practice. In the theoretical part, the syllabus of the K-12 group should offer appropriate subjects to tackle the problem of wealth and health. This can be achieved through informing the students about various modes to increase their wealth while living a healthy way. I believe this is the right idea, since not many young people think about their future lives. For example, children might have unhealthy eating habits being not aware how later it may cause serious health and wealth problems. This happens if the young person becomes sick, their work will become unproductive, thus wealth problems will open doors for further health problems. This seems to be a cycle of problems: health problems causing wealth problems, and wealth causing more health problems. The theoretical approach that I recommend, can actively tackle the cycle problems by educating the young people on how to safeguard themselves from entering the cycle or how to react when they engage in such a cycle. Concerning the practical part of the program that I recommended, the education system should offer real life situations that can teach the Americans how to handle activities that can improve their health. For example, the physical exercises and healthy eating should be put as parts of the examination. The students would thus be accessed on their involvement in healthy lifestyle activities.
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