Segments in this Video

Health in America (05:58)


Nearly half of all money spent on healthcare occurs in the United States, but the country is unhealthier than other industrialized nations. Socioeconomic status influences behaviors that affect health. Adewale Troutman is the director of public health for Louisville, Kentucky and studies social determinants of health in the city.

Wealth and Health (06:00)

The northeast section of Louisville is the richest area and has the longest life expectancy. Any amount of wealth increases a person's health. Those with lower income are more likely to have life threatening diseases.

College Degrees and Health (02:23)

College graduates have a longer life expectancy than high school graduates. A college degree increases the likelihood of having higher wealth, but increased costs have made it more difficult for people to achieve.

Income Level and Health (02:58)

More than half of Americans live at an income level that is too low to afford owning a home. Home ownership creates a stronger sense of stability, which is beneficial to health.

Social Policies and Health (04:34)

Troutman visits Louisville's city center, where there is a lack of grocery stores and healthy dining options. Unemployment and high school dropout rates are higher than in other sections of the city.

Social Class and Health (04:11)

Social class is the number one determent of someone's health and life expectancy. It relates to the amount of control someone has over his or her life. Stress increases when a person feels he or she has less control.

Social Hierarchy and Health (07:22)

A study of macaques shows how their place in the hierarchy directly relates to stress levels. Chronic stress can cause damage to cellular function and tissues. A psychologist conducted a similar study to measure stress levels in humans.

Living Conditions and Health (05:43)

The circumstances in which someone lives relates to stress levels and overall health. Class and income determine the stress level of someone’s living conditions. Childhood poverty can cause lifelong health problems.

Race and Health (03:07)

Regardless of place in the social hierarchy, people of color are more likely to have health problems than white people at the same level. African-Americans are more likely to die earlier and have chronic diseases. Racial discrimination increases stress levels.

Reducing Health Inequality (03:08)

In the 1930s, the United States rapidly increased public health and life expectancy through social measures, such as education reform and workers' rights. The GI Bill for returning World War II veterans helped them get homes and education. The Civil Rights Movement helped bring benefits to African-Americans.

Wealth Disparity and Health (03:54)

The gap between the wealthiest and the poorest Americans has grown since the 1980s when numerous social programs were eliminated. The disparity is causing more health problems. America has less healthcare coverage and mandated vacation time than similar industrialized nations.

Policies for Better Health (04:21)

The Health Equity Center in Louisville helps citizens make their communities healthier. Troutman wants to empower communities to improve social conditions.

Credits: In Sickness and in Wealth (03:14)

Credits: In Sickness and in Wealth

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In Sickness and in Wealth

Part of the Series : Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?
3-Year Streaming Price: $69.95



The episode paints the big picture. Set in Louisville, Kentucky, it is a story about health, but it's not about doctors or drugs. It's about why some of us get sicker more often and die sooner in the first place. What are the connections between healthy bodies and healthy bank accounts and skin color? How do social policies and the way we organize work and society affect health? Solutions, the show suggests, lie not in more pills but in more equality. In Sickness and in Wealth sets out the series' main themes: that health and longevity are correlated with socioeconomic status, that people of color face an additional health burden, and that our health and well-being are tied to policies that promote economic and social justice.

Length: 58 minutes

Item#: FPT165937

Copyright date: ©2008

Closed Captioned

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