Everyone hears that exercise and healthy eating are essential to a healthy body. But does everyone know the consequence of inactivity and poor nutrition? Diabetes is an escalating disease in America that brings a variety of traumatizing consequences and results from lack of exercise and nutrition. From blindness, to heart attacks, to amputations- diabetics’ bodies are attacked on all sides. If people only understood the risks of eating hamburgers everyday, one would think they would change their lifestyle? Right? Wrong.
Eating healthy is not that simple. Despite nutritional knowledge and health campaigns, the disease is growing. “Diabetes is as much a sociological and anthropological story as a medical one. While it assaults all classes, ages and ethnic groups, it is inextricably bound up with race and money.” (nytimes.com) Diabetes is connected to income because poverty usually means less access to fresh food, exercise and treatment. In America, minority groups such as African-Americans and Latinos develop diabetes at twice the rate of whites. There is a deep connection between under-privileged minorities biology, their socioeconomic status and the development of diabetes. A change lifestyle is not simple when fresh fruit is expensive, exercise means time away from work, and healthcare is unavailable. In communities where fast food is cheap and available, exercise is not encouraged and sports cost money as well, healthy living is almost impossible to imagine. People can know the facts, but instigating change is an entirely different endeavor. Cultural factors often overshadow medical information.
The conflict between culture and medicine is also visible in other diseases in other regions. While global health advocates know that poor nutrition and lack of sanitation are leading causes for diarrheal disease in developing countries. Identifying the cause is not enough to implement change. Educating communities about sanitation and clean water is futile if help is not available to follow through with lifestyle changes.
This guide is useless to people that can’t afford the food on the chart.