Dean and student on Berkeley Blog: Occupy what? Start with health

Stephen ShortellIn a Berkeley Blog entry, Dean Stephen Shortell and Dr.P.H. student Joe Schuchter write about the interaction between health and wealth and recommend steps to narrow the gaps in health and income.

“A starting point for restoring truly equal opportunities is to recognize the relationship among access to educational resources, jobs, economic status, and health,” they write. “They interact in a cycle. Poor health in adults compromises their ability to make a living. Poor health in children compromises their ability to get an education which, in turn, affects their future ability to make a living. And so the cycle continues.” 

Joe SchuchterTo help create more opportunities for health and wealth, they recommend implementing the California Department of Public Health’s 2020 Healthy People objectives and give four examples: 1) enhance access to and availability of physical activity in our schools and communities, 2) increase the number of communities with retail outlets that provide healthy foods, 3) eliminate the marketing of tobacco advertisements to children, adolescents, and young adults, and 4) ensure health during formative years by increasing school-based health centers and school nurses in grades K through 12.

“These are not the only policies needed to narrow the gaps in health and income but they are a place to start. It is time to move from raising awareness to implementing solutions. It is time to move from occupation to action,” they conclude.

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By Linda Anderberg