Although inequalities in income and education underlie many health disparities, the poor are sometimes held responsible for their health status. For instance, Dr. Ichiro Kawachi, a Harvard University professor and social epidemiologist, reports that the ability to avoid negative health behaviors like smoking and eating unhealthy foods depends on access to “income, education, and the social determinants of health.” On the basis of your knowledge of the health of the poor, answer the following questions:
• Should the poor be held responsible for their health disparities? Why or why not?
• What are some common stereotypes of the poor? How do these stereotypes contribute to the poor being held responsible for their health status?
• What conditions in your community promote or hinder healthy choices?
• In addition to the above, consider the input that research on women has lagged behind research on men. Many health treatments that address health risks for women are based on research conducted on men. With reference to your understanding of the healthcare system, mention the factors that determine whether the health treatments based on research on men will be successful with women.