Unnatural Causes: In Sickness and In Wealth

This segment of Unnatural Causes: In Sickness and In Wealth, explores privilege and the concept of inequality by focusing on social determinants in our society. The video goes through the lives of residents in Louisville, Kentucky, who are from different socioeconomic backgrounds and residential areas. There are 26 neighborhoods in Louisville and the farther East one goes, the more affluent the areas around become. As Dr. Troutman travels from one district to the other the differences in social environments, that each resident lives in becomes visible. When traveling to the separate districts, the video displays the difference in life expectancy and the number decreases with the socioeconomic status and social environments of the selected neighborhoods. It was shocking, yet not surprising to see the correlation between health and social conditions. I feel like this idea is not surprising because I think most of us know that disparities between wealth can impact health. It just becomes more apparent when you watch it in a video and the numbers are right in front of you.

The video did a good job explaining the experiment with the monkeys and how important power is in society. In the experiment, the dominant monkey had more control and less worries due to his position of power. Because of this the monkey displayed lower cortisol levels than the subordinate monkey. The subordinate monkey faced more stress, as a result it had higher cortisol levels. The decrease in control of one’s life can increase stress and have a positive affect on health. Prolonged activation of cortisol can eventually have negative impacts on people’s health and lead to lower life expectancy. And as we see with the residents of Louisville, the more education and income one has the better their social circumstances. It is sad that this is the society we live in. It is unfortunate and unjust that people who live in less than favorable social conditions are under this constant stress to just survive. And because of this the constant stress lead to them having lower life expectancy.

Published by