Health Inequities in Southwest Michigan
Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Health Disparities are differences in health outcomes, like diabetes and heart disease, among groups of people. Health Inequities are health disparities that are avoidable, unfair and unjust. Health Inequities are caused by things like poverty, substandard housing, lack of transportation, limited access to healthcare, and social/physical isolation.
A deeper analysis of the mortality data by the Berrien County Department of Health found that the differences in mortality rates are closely associated with poverty, low educational attainment, and, significantly, race. In other words, poverty, poor education, and being black are risk factors for early mortality in Berrien County. Data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that there are significant inequities in the health outcomes of Berrien County’s Native American (click here to view detailed report) residents, as well.
In recent years, science tells us that not only does bias and discrimination harm health by limiting access to critical resources and opportunities, but it also harms health through biological processes that predispose people to a wide range of diseases and illnesses, including those that burden Lakeland’s health system such as cardiovascular illnesses, diabetes, obesity, and poor mental health. Moreover, science is uncovering important intergenerational implications of these biological processes.