Being Unhealthy : a Socio-Economic Issue

I recently re-connected with an acquaintance from high school via Facebook. Of course, I was a bit taken aback by the enthusiasm of the said “friend” wanting to meet up, but I went along with it.

She wanted to sell me her product, and to be honest, I was absolutely OK with it since she was a single mother and all. Well, everyone needs auto insurance, right? Unfortunately, she couldn’t match my rate, but I still introduced another friend of mine to her. However, what surprised me the most upon seeing her again after almost 20 years was how unhealthy she looked. We are the same age, but she looked about 10 years older than me. The answer was simple; she’s a smoker, and drinks alcohol almost daily.

Naturally, I wanted to tell her about living a healthier lifestyle. After all, that’s what I do.

Having said that though, talking to her was like talking to a brick wall. She kept on saying how she’d rather die smoking and drinking than change her lifestyle. I was appalled by her stance and even more so by the fact that she has an 8 year old daughter.

She also told me she’d rather buy a $5 bottle of vitamins than spend more for better quality, real-food supplements. I did my best to educate her that buying such low-grade supplements is worse than not taking them at all. That the $5 bottle she wants to buy is full of chemicals which will cause more harm than good. She’d again have none of it. I stopped talking, and just felt plain sad for her, and especially for her daughter.

She kept on telling me how poor she was, and yes, this single mother’s income is close to what’s considered poverty level in California. I started to play back what I’ve heard recently from Paul Zane Pilzer, one of the leading economists, that being unhealthy is now a socio-economic problem more than anything. Unfortunately, the gap between the healthy and unhealthy has gotten bigger and bigger, and it turns out that the major causes behind it are, of course, money and education.

I realized that her background has played a major role in her decisions to be unhealthy. That it is OK to smoke and drink in this day and age, and that it is OK to buy junk supplements and wonder why her daughter gets sick all the time.

On the other hand, the haves and the educated have gotten healthier and stronger because they have the means and time to pursue wellness. I’m happy to say I fall under the umbrella of wellness rather than sickness, but this particular encounter still haunts me knowing that someone I personally knew has fallen victim to the societal problem.

unhealthy

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