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Old 03-19-2008, 12:06 PM
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Default Unnatural causes…. Is inequality making us sick?A New PBS Series Takes on Health Care

Why does the most powerful nation in the world have worse health outcomes than other nations, despite spending more than twice the amount of money per person on health care? How does racial discrimination impose an additional health burden at all income levels? How do the social conditions in which people are born, live and work affect health and longevity?

A new Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) documentary series, "Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?" examines these questions, challenges current beliefs about health, and offers new remedies to address health care issues. The four-hour series will air from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. on OETA PBS on consecutive Thursdays from March 27 to April 17.

The series has prompted some Health services to schedule discussions that seek community input on the causes and potential solutions to socioeconomic and ethnic inequities in health.

Currently, an estimated 47 million Americans lack health care. The series discusses what makes people ill, and then questions why economic status, race, and zip codes are more powerful predictors of health status than life expectancy and smoking.

Past public health improvements were tied to improving individual behaviors through new drugs, medical technology and public policy reforms like child labor laws. This series takes a look at factors that are now necessary to improve health, yet are beyond individual control, including improvements in land use, transportation, and business investment in poor neighborhoods, as well as safe streets, family leave and wage improvements.

"As health inequality grows, we have begun to see a decline in U.S. life expectancy. We are seeking public input and discussions from our local communities about ways to improve health care systems and which types of programs or activities would provide the most health improvement for Oklahomans," said Secretary for Health and State Health Commissioner Dr. Mike Crutcher.
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