Abstract: Poverty affects individual’s physical health as well as his or her mental health. Poor parents suffer a great deal of social economic stress, which greatly impacts their relationship with their children, especially the adolescents. Troubled teenagers experience chronic stress and sometimes deep distress that leads to psychological issues and in worst cases to suicide. As poverty takes its toll on the human health, it also affects environment in general: Poor areas are well known by the wide spread of infectious communicable diseases, such as typhoid fever and tuberculosis.
Underprivileged people are also exposed to non-communicable diseases including Premature Births and Cancer. It also imposes obesity in poor regions since the poor have limited or no access to physical activities which improves their health. Families with lower wages are often victims of obesity, due to several reasons, including the cheap prices of junk food and the wrong orientation in the media about healthy diets. Poverty is arguably the most universal, difficult, and harmful risk factor for population health. Its effects mount up over the life course, and are transmitted across generations.
Poverty limits opportunities leaving individuals liable to low control, depressive symptoms, and a strange appearance. Poverty is such a dominant force that it can lead an individual into a long cycle of severe health issues. Cracking this cycle is a key task that can only be achieved with steps such as educating the public about the effects of poverty all across the globe. Poverty can directly affect individuals and their families in many ways such as, mental health, infectious diseases, and obesity that are spreading at such a quick rate particularly among those settling in inadequate living conditions and poor sanitary.
Without a doubt, individuals with low incomes are more likely to suffer from poor mental health and poverty. Settling in poverty greatly influences stress levels and psychological health. As a matter of fact, parents with short and unstable income experience more emotional grief, despair, and regard themselves as less successful parents than parents with higher incomes. Not to mention, the steady worry of poverty can lead to depression and anxiety.
Equally important, the stress of figuring out how the unpaid bills will be covered or who will pay the medical costs if anything awful happens to a member in the family and many other fears all contribute to things such as child abuse and parental conflict. In fact, poverty and financial suffering include several impacts on parents, generating parental agony which disturbs the parent-teenager ties, and frequently guides to conflicting order, diminished parental supervision and parent- child disagreements. (Dashiff, DiMicco, Myers, Sheppard, 2009, p.26)
Unquestionably, poverty may have direct consequences on adolescent mental health and the quality of life. In general, teenagers are aware of their economic situations in their families, which impact their interactions with their families and environments. The awareness of youths that their parents have financial difficulties has been linked with features of adolescent mental health, implying the huge outcomes poverty has on teenagers’ mood. For instance, poor youths are alert of the money troubles surrounding their parents and the horrific house atmosphere which enable them to be more anxious and stressed.
What is more, chronic stress combined with poverty affects the nervous system of lower class teenager’s nervous systems. Identically, chronic stress is connected to poverty which increases adolescents’ threat for mental disorders, such as misery, and behavioral activities such as drug use, and criminal action. In addition, teenagers exposed to constant poverty are more susceptible to poor academic achievement. Indeed, poverty affects teenagers more than others since they already have the idea that they are inferior.
With this intention of their inferiority, chronic stress is considered as one component to their diminishing self confidence. (Leonard, 2009. ) Undeniably, the relationship between poverty and mental health can be investigated under different causes such as distress as an outcome of poverty. Poverty brings along with it a dearth of circumstances, including being unable to afford needs/items. Eventually, the effects of those distresses can have tremendous tolls on the life of the poor teens, including emotional states such as a bad temper, sorrow, irritation, or dissatisfaction.
As an illustration, a British survey revealed that poor teenagers recorded difficulties in creating bonds with friends and family, being bored, and feeling looked down upon, coupled with feeling dejected. Indisputably, poverty’s connection with psychological issues cannot be concealed. The psychological result of settling in poor areas is intervened by shame, societal isolation, and elimination. Individuals exposed to poverty account advanced stages of despair, fatalism, and minor stages of satisfaction with life than the better off. Those features are not only common, but they also cause them to feel helpless.
This makes it complicated for those in poverty to effectively alter their class status. Notably, psychiatric circumstances such as mood confusions and schizophrenia result in cases of morbidity. The treatment of such disorders leads to burdens on the poor because of their amazing costs. In the light of psychological matters, suicide behavior among other aspects is a major risk issue. Mainly in developing nations, there are high percentages of suicide. Suicide is dominated by areas where extreme poverty, scarcity, joblessness and reduced education are found.
The large amount of suicide in the unemployed areas, due those to citizens experiencing speedy and major social change are elucidated by the fact that suicide has been understood not only as a sign of misery but also a way in which to state a deeply felt sense of having been mistaken. During history, communicable diseases have hit most harshly among the underprivileged. Still, nowadays, it is the severe infectious diseases that offer the maximum fear to the physical condition of citizens in the poor areas (Pond, 1961, p. 967).
Contagious diseases are major reasons of death, morbidity, impairments, and disability which mostly affect the poor (Kosa, Antonovsky, Zola, 1969, p. 73). Communicable diseases are resulted by organisms such as bacteria and viruses dominating poor regions. These diseases are caused by infections through direct contact, eating, or breathing. They can have tremendous effects on the needy since poor areas are occupied by insanitary environments and inadequate living conditions. Communicable diseases arrive in numerous forms; however there are two major transmittable diseases that have strong effects on the poor: Typhoid fever and Tuberculosis.
In fact, Typhoid fever is a disease that is not entirely controllable even with the use of vaccination. Moreover, some studies show that this disease is the consequence of poor sanitary conditions. For instance, travelers to developing countries are at a great risk of catching this disease by eating or drinking contaminated substances. Furthermore, the fact of open sewage and the poor water treatment in the poor countries is a great factor infecting the residents and spreading the disease.
Under those circumstances, effective measures should be taken by health authorities to significantly decrease the rate of this deadly disease mainly by enforcing improvement in sanitation of the environment. Tuberculosis is one of the most deadly spread diseases of the 19th century, especially among infants. As the standard of living and medical care enhanced over the years, the rate of the diseases was declining. However nowadays, Tuberculosis is returning to haunt the homeless and the poor.
Some researchers have discovered that substandard housing is a major cause of Tuberculosis, as well as the type of diet that plays a significant role in determining the possible exposure to Tuberculosis. Vaccines and drugs could be considered essential in fighting this disease but there is a theory that states “I cannot resist the temptation to express my belief that… it is most unlikely that drugs alone, or drugs supplemented by vaccination, can control Tuberculosis in the underprivileged countries of the world as long as their nutritional status has not been raised to a reasonable level” (Pond, 1961, p. 969).
Indeed, progress in medicine and public health accompanied by ameliorated social situations can control the spread of Tuberculosis that affect the lungs. Day after day, in the journey of life, the human being is more likely to be struck by chronic and degenerative diseases, usually associated with aging. Those diseases are known by the name of non-communicable diseases. Although, little concern is paid to study exactly what causes and effects of the non-communicable diseases are, a burden for the developing countries and bear the greatest rate of mortality especially among the economically productive age group.
Among the non- communicable diseases, there are two diseases that have major influence on the needy; these two diseases are no other than: Premature Births and Cancer. In particular, lower social class and income are generally associated with increased risks of Premature Births. As a matter of fact, studies from Baltimore expressed a relation among Premature Births and socioeconomic status where the percentages of Premature Births were dominated by the lower-class (Pond, 1961, p. 970).
Premature Births form a burden on the poor since the costs of tending to a premature infant are generally high compared to a normal baby. This is due to the extra care the baby needs and the longer period of hospital care he/she requires. Likewise, another non-communicable disease that I aim to shed a light on is Cancer. The relationship between Cancer and poverty is mainly connected with the socioeconomic status; since the lower classes are more favorable to carry strong diseases. Studies demonstrated that cancer strikes low-income families more than others.
Women in the lower class groups were significantly more likely to have a relapse and die from breast cancer compared with those in more affluent categories. Cancer is believed to be caused by factors such as personal habits as smoking and drinking, genetic influences, diets, and the poor environmental circumstances. Until now there is no accurate cure for cancer; however the treatments used to treat cancer are a huge financial burden on the poor which they can’t afford. Obesity is a harmful illness increasing dramatically and it is associated with other illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and hip fractures.
Also, obesity has been linked to depression and poor self esteem. In contrary, to what’s known as obesity being a result of wealth it is a fact that obesity is increasing in the poor areas and now it is known to be the disease of the poor. Without a doubt, lack of exercise is a crucial factor in increasing poor people’s obesity. Individuals who work long hours settling in poor, insecure neighborhoods often find it really difficult to increase their levels of physical activity. Unluckily, poor workers don’t have the chance to enjoy healthy activities to maintain their fitness.
Their position does not provide them with top quality grocery stores which worsens their health and mentality because of the fatty food’s hefty prices. (Jsnaric,2010) As an illustration, in current Canadian cultures, watching a movie in the cinema is cheaper than playing hockey. The chance to get involved in physical education plans is restricted for families with lesser wages, basically since the expenses of those activities are extremely expensive. (Taylor, 2010. ) Family Income is a key reason behind underprivileged overweight individuals. In general, families with low incomes are associated with high levels of obesity.
Obesity is usually linked more with urban than rural areas. In the city life, underprivileged people are greatly expected to be more overweight than their rich fellow citizens. The main reason for this theory is not that all unfortunate human beings are indolent or because they are using government food assistance, but because they don’t possess the choice of consuming healthy food. (M. G,2010. ) Location of families plays a major role in their health because of the shortage of fine grocery stores in poor areas. If they do have access to grocery stores, the prices of healthy food are way more expensive than junk food.
Hence, poor people are going to buy as much food as they can for their money and these cheap foods are full with sugar, fat, and empty calories. Adapting to junk food is causing the high rates of obesity all across the world. Dr. Adam Drewnowski, university professor (2010) “determined that foods produced from subsidized crops, such as French fries and soda, cost about five times less per calorie comparison, and from a short-term financial perspective, it may make sense for a low-income person to choose high-fat and highly sweetened foods over healthier alternatives”.
What’s more, governments are willing to pay big dollars on programs aiming to inform citizens in general and especially the children about the proper nutrition. Nowadays, the advertisement market is oriented in such a way to address children and adolescents about fast food and unhealthy snacks. For this reason, it is a necessity to shift directions to the right track by offering advertisements and more information on the significance of learning about healthy diets. For example, human beings are encouraged to consume more vegetables and fruits, less fat and healthy snacks.
In conclusion, it is impaired that quick and effective actions must be taken from the part of governments and civil society to find practical solutions for these problems related to poverty so they can relieve as much of the underprivileged citizens as possible. This relief can be accepted through providing a new range of jobs for the unfortunate and running many programs that help decreasing the mental health problems. In addition, it is crucial to improve the poor sanitary conditions in a underprivileged communities in order to stop the spreading of the infectious diseases.
Last but not least, Society must work on informing the public, especially teens, about healthy diets and the significance of physical exercise to lead a healthy life, and enlightening the many dangers of obesity. Sources: Carol. D, DiMicco. W , Myers. B , Sheppard. K(2009):” Poverty and Adolescent Mental Heath” Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, Volume 22, pp,23-32. Hofferth. S, Curtin. S,(2005): “Poverty, Food Programs, and Childhood Obesity”, John Wiley & Sons p. p 703 – 726. Jsnaric (2010). “Poverty and Health: Obesity, Stress, Disease”. Kosa. J(1969). A. Antonovsky, I. Zola. Massachusetss, Harvard University Press.
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