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Health and equity: What's the problem?


Transportation and Health Equity Series, Part 2

America is a world leader in medical research and medical care.  Even here in Portland, our medical prowess is visible.  Doctors and scientists at Oregon Health and Science Institute are making amazing discoveries every day and continually wow me with their brain power.

So with this knowledge, why are the following true?

  • America is not even in the top ten countries in the world for life expectancy.  We’re number 29 behind countries like Bosnia and Jordan.  Fifty years ago, we were in the top five.  Ugh.
  • The current generation of children in America are predicted to have shorter life expectancies than their parents.  This hasn’t happened in over 200 years.

So seriously, what’s going on?  Much of the dreariness of the above points can be attributed to the high rates of obesity that are occurring in today’s society.  And to bring you down further with obesity statistics…

  • One in three children is overweight or obese.
  • In 2009, only one state (Colorado) was at the obesity level as the most overweight states in 2000.  Visually, the color change between the maps is alarming.

Obesity map produced by the Centers for Disease Control


Okay, so we get it.  We’re obese and it's getting worse.  Obesity leads to heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and on and on.  It’s killing us and our children.

But on top of this trend there’s HEALTH EQUITY, which will be defined in the next entry.  I apologize for the ‘downer’ nature of this entry and will woo you with the promise that there is a hopeful end to this series of write-ups.  Just stick with me. 

This entry is part of our Transportation and Health Equity series by guest author Sara Schooley.


Read the other posts in the series: 

Part I: Introduction

Part III: Obesity, Race and Equity

Part IV: What makes health?

Part V: Can transportation make you live longer

Part VI: Your Neighborhood and Your Health

Part VII: Opportunities to Impact Health Equity


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