Talking About Health

book cover well

The subtitle of the captioned book is What We Need to Talk About When We Talk About Health.

The author Sandro Galea connects the dots that no one else has connected. He illuminates the root causes of health disparities among Americans.

The excess of diet books churned out and published each year expand the myth that personality responsibility causes ill health for the majority of Americans.

As economic inequality increases none of us will be immune from having to choose between buying an unhealthful $6.99 Hungry Man Swanson dinner and picking up fish and vegetables for dinner.

As Sandro Galea brings to light:

“True health comes from social and economic justice. It is a product of systems that create opportunities for all to live a life that is unconstrained by the forces that generate sickness…Health comes from living in a world where no one is walled off from the conditions that allow us to be well from the day we are born until the day we die.”

Alas the preponderance of “food deserts” in low income neighborhoods–the absence of supermarkets selling better food–causes obesity when residents are forced to buy processed food that lines the shelves of convenience stores.

In low-income neighborhoods a lot of people don’t have cars to drive to a supermarket or a farmer’s market that is miles away.

Sandro Galea refers often in his book to the legacy of slavery as seen in the the ongoing racial segregation in neighborhoods where people live.

The proliferation of unregulated gun ownership has caused ill health in these neighborhoods. Having more people own more guns in society doesn’t make Americans safer–it makes us victims of ongoing gun violence–whether by mass shooters or a hoodlum walking down the street.

The book Well by Sandro Galea should be required reading.

The author rallies for having compassion for everyone. He admonishes the Republican and Conservative ilk who use the “personality responsibility” card to attack people living in poverty and  collecting government benefits.

I have the unusual experience [for a person like me] of having received so-called “entitlements” in my early twenties. I collected a government disability check, used Medicaid to pay for clinic visits, and lived in public housing.

In retrospect I can see why I was overweight: I bought hot dogs to cook (cheap!) and Velveeta Mac-and-Cheese (not really healthier even though I added broccoli to it).

You shouldn’t be judged and attacked when you’re forced to choose to buy unhealthful food.

There’s a better way. I’ve written in my blog before that the American healthcare model is foolishly predicated on disease management instead of illness prevention.

As per Sandro Galea health has nothing to do with the ability to buy yourself a cure for cancer. It have everything to do with the environment you’re born into and live in.

Whoever has health has wealth in the true definition of wealth as being abundance.

Read the book Well like I did and you might see things differently as I do now.

My goal is to vote for Andrew Yang a candidate for president whose platform involves giving every American 18 and older a monthly Universal Basic Income of $1,000.

With the loss of jobs to computer automation–with the increasing economic inequality (which is no individual’s fault at all)–I’m in favor of creating a Universal Basic Income system in America.

The jobs lost to computers simply aren’t coming back.

In the coming blog entry I will explore the issue of food justice in more detail.

I will start to give summertime recipes again.

 

 

 

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