Public Television had a series illustrating how stress greatly increased your chances of bad health and early death. Poverty and economic stress were the culprits. "Unnatural Death:"
The series took a look at the epidemic of premature "aging" and death among the poor … explores the question, "Is there something deadly in the American experience of urban poverty itself?" An overview of research on the negative effects of racial inequity on physical health. Studies show that exposure to discrimination causes increases in blood pressure and heart rate, but new research from around the world goes further, using advanced methods to examine how repeated experiences with racism are linked to more severe conditions such as coronary blockages and chronically elevated stress hormone levels.
Overcoming Obstacles to Health: Report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to the Commission to Build a Healthier America (PDF): This report, written in conjunction with the launch of the foundation’s new Commission to Build a Healthier America, describes in stark detail the scope of health disparities in America – how the poor and middle class are so much less healthy than those above them on the economic ladder, the factors in our society and communities that contribute to such disparities, and the areas that hold promise for improving the health of this country.
I never understood why this series was never brought up as a reason for universal health care prior to putting together the Affordable Care Act.
Now we’re finding out poverty adversely affects the brains development early in life.
The new findings below don’t just contradict the notion that safety net programs are a disincentive to get people out of poverty, they’re an actual benefit that only begins to help the next generation.
If the research below doesn't change the way politicians like Paul Ryan think about getting people to work and lifting folks out of poverty, than we’re in big trouble 20 to 30 years from now, IF they do away with our safety net programs.
jsonline: A team of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers has shown that chronic stress of poverty, neglect and physical abuse in early life may shrink the parts of a child's developing brain responsible for memory, learning and processing emotion.
While early-life stress already has been linked to depression, anxiety, heart disease, cancer and a lack of educational and employment success, researchers have long been seeking to understand what part of the brain is affected by stress to help guide interventions.
The research may inform social policy and interventions to help vulnerable children, the study's lead author and recent UW PhD graduate Jamie Hanson said.
Not everyone who experiences chronic early stress has negative outcomes, Hanson noted. "We can think about lots of people who overcome adversity," he said. "I look at our research as showing a probability. You may have a greater risk, but it's not 100%."