The Health Equity Gap: What is it and How Can We Close It?

The World Health Organization defines health equity as “the fair distribution of health care benefits, opportunities, services and resources among populations based on socially determined characteristics such as gender, age, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability or socioeconomic status.” In other words, health equity ensures that everyone receives needed medical treatment without discrimination against any group.

In the United States, there are currently two major types of healthcare systems – public vs private. Each system has its pros and cons. Public healthcare is free at the point-of-service, but the quality can vary from state-to-state. Private healthcare is considered to be the best type of healthcare in the US, even though many people cannot afford it. Unfortunately, not all Americans have access to good healthcare due to the fact that some states do not allow insurance companies to operate in their respective states. There are many Americans who live in rural areas who face a lack of affordable options for healthcare.

As a result of this, some patients seek out treatments outside of the mainstream. Because of the lack of regulation around alternative medicine, these practices are often unregulated. Some of the less reputable practitioners may use harmful methods on patients, while others may simply be charlatans taking advantage of vulnerable individuals. Many times, patients will turn to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) instead of Western medicine because they believe TCM works better than modern science. This is especially true for chronic diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. However, many people do not know how to make sense of the information being presented to them and end up getting duped by those who are just looking for money.

Because of this, many people have turned to organic farming as a way of preventing potential harm to themselves or their families. Organic foods are grown using natural means instead of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Organic food production is regulated and certified through certifying organizations like the USDA National Organic Program (NOP).

There are several ways to consume organic products; however, many consumers prefer buying locally produced goods. An example would be purchasing local tomatoes and berries rather than ones shipped across the country. Another example would be choosing to purchase a product that was raised organically rather than conventionally. Buying locally does help reduce transportation costs and carbon emissions, which also makes it more environmentally friendly.

By educating yourself about different approaches to farming, you can ensure that your family’s health continues to improve.

Anemia – A condition where the blood lacks red cells that carry oxygen. Hemoglobin binds the iron molecule on the surface of the red blood cells and carries the oxygen from the lungs throughout the body. Women are twice as likely to develop anemia compared to men, even though both sexes have comparable risk factors for developing this disease. In addition, women of childbearing age are at greater risk of pregnancy-related complications including miscarriage, low birth weight infants, preterm delivery, stillbirths. Anemia can lead to chronic fatigue, weakness, reduced work capacity, poor concentration, dizziness, headaches and shortness of breath.

Vitamin D – Deficiency of vitamin D has been associated with osteoporosis, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, immune system dysfunction, type 1 Diabetes Mellitus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune conditions. According to the CDC, 20% of American adults and 50% of children suffer from vitamin D insufficiency. Studies show that vitamin D levels drop with age, but can be improved through increased sun exposure (10-15 minutes per day) as well as supplementation. For optimal health, adults should get 10 micrograms (mcg) per day. However, pregnant women should aim for 15 mcg daily and breastfed babies need 25 mcg daily.

 Asthma – Worldwide, asthma is estimated to affect over 300 million

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