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Health Equity

The MORE YOU KNOW, the MORE YOU DO.
Know health equity. Then TAKE ACTION.

UNDERSTANDING ROOT CAUSES

Why do some of us live sicker and die younger than we should? Natural causes like lifestyle choices, “bad” genes or inadequate care are to blame. These days, social conditions, like where we live, the money we have, the discrimination we face, and the work we do is what makes us healthy or sick. And, that’s NOT natural. Can you answer these 9 questions about health these days?

Question:

Does good health come from good health care?

Answer:

Good health comes from more than good health care. Personal behavior is part of it. But most importantly it is our social condition.

Question:

Is health tied to wealth?

Answer:

Yes. Our poorest are four times more likely to die early than the wealthiest.

Question:

Does discrimination harm health?

Answer:

Discrimination in housing, healthcare, jobs and education and the economic, social and emotional fallout can seriously harm health.

Question:

Does where we live matter to health?

Answer:

Place matters, because the choices we make are shaped by the choices we have. Some neighborhoods make it possible to choose healthy foods, safe homes, and safe places to exercise, others simply don’t.

Question:

Does less control over our lives mean more chronic stress?

Answer:

Low-paying jobs, violent surroundings, insecure housing, poor childcare paired with little power to make change upsets our lives, causes stress, which hurts our health.

Question:

Can chronic stress be toxic?

Answer:

Yes. Chronic stress wears our bodies down and increases our risk of disease.

Question:

How bad is economic and political inequality for our health?

Answer:

In the U.S. the gap between rich and poor is greater than at any time since 1920. So are the health differences, with the health gap widening.

Question:

When is social policy health policy?

Answer:

The greatest gains in the health of U.S. residents came with improvements in wage and work standards, civil rights laws, and improved sanitation and housing, not simply new drugs or better medical care. Social policy is almost always health policy.

Question:

Aren’t health inequalities just natural?

Answer:

Health inequalities are NOT NATURAL. Health differences that arise from racial and class differences come from choices society has made...and can make differently in the future.

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The Roots of Health Equity

Resources

A PEOPLE’S GUIDE TO HEALTH EQUITY VIDEO

Download a video, a powerpoint presentation (PDF form), or a brochure that you can use to spread the word about health equity.

Download the presentation (PDF) Download the video (high-def .mp4)

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