Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Life at the Top in America Isn't Just Better, It's Longer

Interesting (but really long) article that compares how 3 people in different classes differ after having a heart attack. While the upper class man does much better than the middle class man who does much better than the lower class woman, the reasons for it are many. It is not just that the upper class man has access to better health care, it is that he can more easily switch to a healthier diet and exercise, that he can switch his job to one with less stress, that he has supportive friends and family. The lower class woman on the other hand has only friends and family that smoke and eat fatty foods. She quits smoking but then starts eating more to compensate. Then she decides that she needs to lose wait so she follows a diet that she read in a magazine. She is from Poland and her English isn't that good, so she can't always understand what the doctor is saying.

While it first you might think it unfair that those that are in the upper class are healthier and live longer, after you read this article you realize that this problem cannot be easily solved by doing something like universal health care. Universal health care would probably help those on the bottom, but it won't give them the will power to stay on a health diet and exercise regiment, it won't give them the support of friends and family required to make major changes in their lifestyle, it won't give them the curiosity and drive to read up on the internet about their particular situation and how best to treat it.

via New York Times

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