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Becoming American
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Becoming American
Part of the Series: Unnatural Causes

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7 videos in this collection

In Sickness and in Wealth
What are the connections between healthy bodies, healthy bank accounts and skin colour? Our opening episode travels to Louisville, Kentucky, not to explore whether medical care cures us, but to…
When the Bough Breaks
The number of infants who die before their first birthday is much higher in the U.S. than in other countries. And, for African Americans, the rate is nearly twice as…
Becoming American
Recent Mexican immigrants, although poorer, tend to be healthier than the average American. They have lower rates of death, heart disease, cancer, and other illnesses, despite being less educated, earning…
Bad Sugar
The Pima and Tohono O'odham Indians of southern Arizona have arguably the highest diabetes rates in the world - half of all adults are afflicted. But a century ago, diabetes…
Place Matters
Why is your street address such a good predictor of your health? Latino and Southeast Asian immigrants like Gwai Boonkeut have been moving into long-neglected urban neighborhoods such as those…
Collateral Damage
Two billion people worldwide are infected with the TB bacillus, but only 9 million people a year actually get the disease. The story of the Marshall Islands can help us…
Not Just a Paycheck
In the winter of 2006, the Electrolux Corporation closed the largest refrigerator factory in the U.S. and moved it to Juarez, Mexico, for cheaper labor. The move turned the lives…

Comments (48)

Anonymous picture

America is known as the ‘free world’ where immigrants want to come to gain freedom but something that we dont think about are the cultural differences and how that can affect ones health. I actually never really thought of this perspective of moving to a different country so this is ...Read more

Anonymous picture

I always knew access to healthcare was a huge problem but never this serious. It really made it clear how big of a problem it is. I can't believe he went 21 years without going to any type of doctor. The Latino paradox was very interesting to me because the fact that they have all these ...Read more

Anonymous picture

This video brings awareness to the lack in community ties and our unhealthy work habits and other aspects of American culture that are decreasing the health of old and new Americans. In terms of addressing culture, I wonder what can be put in place to increase community ties. And, I'm ...Read more

Anonymous picture

After watching this episode, I believe that Americans should learn a lesson from how the health of immigrants declines once they move here. We should cut down on fast food and all the other harmful things we put in to our bodies on a daily basis.

Anonymous picture

Wow! It seems that the American society has a lot that we could learn! We should choose aspects of other cultures to better our own.

Anonymous picture

After seeing this, I wonder if it's all the junk we put into our foods that causes the health of immigrants to decline within a few generations. The American dream used to have people come all parts of the world to achieve a better life. Now it seems that dreams just brings more sickness.

Anonymous picture

This video brings up a lot of the downsides of immigrating to our country that I have never taken into consideration before. It makes sense though how immigrants would have a tough time adapting to our way of life just as any of us would have difficulty adjusting to the ways of another ...Read more

Anonymous picture

This video showed a very interesting perspective on our personal health that I never would have thought of before. It does make a lot of sense though how having strong family ties can be beneficial to our health as it is easier to deal with stress and hardships that way. It really surprised ...Read more

Anonymous picture

The point that the video made about strong family ties makes a lot of sense to me. Mexican immigrants that bring over a lot of family may ease the stress of being less wealthy, adjusting to a new country and dealing with the prejudice that certain people may show. Having a positive family can ...Read more

Anonymous picture

It's interesting that although they come from a poorer country and often come to America with very little that immigrants have better health than most Americans. But it does not surprise me that their health begins to deteriorate the longer they are here.

Anonymous picture

I thought this video was very interesting to watch. This is an affect that I never thought Latino immigrants would go through when they arrived in the United States. One thing that was interesting to me is that they dont really go to the doctor because they dont want to take off work because ...Read more

Anonymous picture

I have never really thought about how immigrants health goes down hill when they come to America. It makes sense though because of how the obesity rates in America are very high and when they come into the country the start living more like Americans.

Anonymous picture

It was very interesting to find out about the close ties to family correlating to better health, which is why so many Latinos have better health. It's sad to know that many people are becoming socially isolated due to increases in work times and commuting, but it's something we need to try ...Read more

Anonymous picture

This was an interesting discussion about the rapid decline of immigrants' health. I found it surprising their relatively good health upon arrival and how quickly that changes as immigrants become "American".

Anonymous picture

I was not too surprised on the statistics regarding the deterioration of Latino immigrant health after being in the U.S. The lifestyle here in the U.S is for the most part not healthy and to me it makes sense that the longer someone is in the country, the more likely they are to adapt to ...Read more

Anonymous picture

I found that immigrants are more mentally and physically healthy than Americans a surprise. It makes sense though because most Americans have hypertension, diabetes, or obese. As immigrants live here longer they get more of an American lifestyle and their health is being effected by it.

Anonymous picture

It was interesting to learn that the longer a immigrant gets adjusted to the American way of life and living, the more their health begins to deteriorate. Their health is worse than when they came into the country.

Anonymous picture

I was truly surprised to learn that social isolation had such a huge affect on health. Not only on chronic disease development such as CVD, cancer, diabetes but infectious disease; which one could assume is from a weakened immune system. The phrase "social isolation in a sense increases ...Read more

Anonymous picture

I found it frustrating that they only mentioned diet once as a possible reason for poorer health. They did not discuss the fact that perhaps part of the reason these immigrants might be healthier is because of better cultural eating habits. After immigration they might have easier access to ...Read more

Anonymous picture

So immigrant Latinos have the best health, even though they are poor and deal with the stress of immigration. I find this interesting, as I would have thought migrating and working in a different country would provide more stress which would result in poor health.

Anonymous picture

Many migrate to America in order to establish a better life. To their surprise, it may be a lot harder than expected. I find it interesting that as immigrants start to acculturate, stress levels will begin to increase instead of improve.

Anonymous picture

It's interesting to me that in "When the Bough Breaks" they talk about racism resulting in poorer health status, and in "In sickness and in Wealth" they speak about lower socioeconomic status people having lower health status, yet in this video people of Mexican race and in poverty have ...Read more

Anonymous picture

I think it is admirable to look how close these immigrant families are and how that plays a part ini their health. I thought it was interesting how immigrants have a lower death rate than wealthy Americans. What is that saying about the American population? Is American actually where the ...Read more

Anonymous picture

First, it saddens me how these companies take advantage of immigrants, paying them barely minimum wage for hard labor and offering very few benefits.
Second, watching this made me curious if these studies took into the account that the new immigrant population rarely goes to a doctor ...Read more

Anonymous picture

I wonder how many people take into account how their health will change upon moving to a different country? Immigrants in this video probably had no idea, and figured they were coming to a country where they would have better access to more advanced health care.

Anonymous picture

I was shocked to hear that living and working in America actually made immigrants health worse. They come here searching for this thing we call the "American Dream" but in most cases getting to that is much more difficult than expected and takes a major toll on these families. I was not ...Read more

Anonymous picture

Family ties help out in latino immigrants because they are such close families. But the longer they are here the more they accumulate to our health culture. Which makes their health decline the longer they are here. Thats interesting but you would expect it.

Anonymous picture

Many immigrants come to the United States to pursue the "American Dream", yet if they knew this dream and country would diminish their health maybe they'd reconsider. I wish more families and Americans would adopt the idea of stronger family ties. It's alarming how many people isolate ...Read more

Anonymous picture

It is very surprising that what makes people unhealthy or have health problems is just living and working in the United State. I always had the mind set that immigrants come to the united State to have a better lifestyle less stress and more health, not the other way around. It is very scary ...Read more

Anonymous picture

Migrating from another country has to be one of the most difficult and challenging moments in ones' lifetime. those individuals whom do come to the U.S. bring a part of their culture to be shared with ours. In the video they mentioned how social isolation has been on a rise and with this can ...Read more

Anonymous picture

It is depressing to see that effects of a westernized life cycle can have on an individual and the generations after them. I think most Americans are oblivious to the effects our diets and social stressors take a toll on us in the long run. Immigrants however can watch their health slip out ...Read more

Anonymous picture

Especially during this election cycle, the notion that immigrants are "draining" the health care system has been a popular talking point for our candidates and for a lot of Americans. Though immigrants work longer hours for fewer pay many of them cannot afford to miss work to get the care ...Read more

Anonymous picture

As somebody who immigrated to the US 7 years ago from a 3rd world country, I have heard that USA has one of the healthiest life styles so after watching this video, I was stunned that unfortunately that isn't the case as immigrants' health is declining after immigration.

Anonymous picture

It is interesting that the longer Mexican immigrants live in America, their health declines and are at a higher risk for diseases. Also, it is sad that the suicide rates are high as well as mental disorders for Latinos in America.

Anonymous picture

It is truly scary to me that immigrants are moving to the US and their health is declining. This is where we live everyday. The US would definitely benefit from watching this video.

Anonymous picture

The entirety of the United States would benefit from watching this video. Town should learn from Kenneth Square and the many resources they provide welcoming their citizens by further promoting their healthy living.

Anonymous picture

I think it is sad that once they are in American their health begins to decline. I was very surprised that Latino's have one of the lowest health rates. I was able to compare this personally though, because my cousin is an immigrant from Mexico and he was very healthy however, he is now ...Read more

Anonymous picture

I have seen something similar to this before; we as a country are so unbelievably unhealthy! The poor exercise habits, on the go lifestyle, poor eating habits, and overall mindset do affect nearly all of our population and sadly that includes immigrants who just simply want something better. ...Read more

Anonymous picture

It is so sad that America makes Latinos much more unhealthy than they were to begin with. You think that they came to America to have a better life, and for a lot of immigrants that is not the case.

Anonymous picture

It is sad to look at this data and see that America is molding immigrants into unhealthy, unhappy, and over-worked, people. I thought it was incredibly surprising to find out that Latinos had the highest health rates even though they are one of the most marginalized minorities in the ...Read more

Anonymous picture

I was very surprised to find out that immigrant Latinos were the healthiest! I was also shocked that The average American spends 50 minutes a day commuting to and from work! However, I have a far commute!

Anonymous picture

I was surprised to find out that immigrant Latino’s were the healthiest with the lowest rates of heart disease, death, and lower rates of mental illness. I thought that is was interesting that the researchers claim that the familial life of Latino’s are the contributing factor for their ...Read more

Anonymous picture

It looks as if Immigrants would be better off not even coming to the U.S. This basically shows that the U.S. is destroying their lives and making them unhealthy.

Anonymous picture

It is alarming that immigrants are coming to the US for a better life but the adaptation is actually making things worse for them. The shields being torn down significantly affect the well-being of immigrants. It is difficult for them because they are stripped of everything they know and then ...Read more

Anonymous picture

This was an extremely interesting video. Learning about the Latino Paradox, and the reasons behind it, was very eye opening.

Anonymous picture

This was a fascinating video. It is strange to think that they lifestyle here worsens some peoples life expectancy. It is, however, understandable when one considers the food market, accessibility, and affordability. I also appreciated the aspect about how it is difficult to attain the ...Read more

Anonymous picture

Very interesting facts/ statistics about Latinos in this country, America. I would like ideas on how to raise awareness or help build communities like the county in Pennsylvania mentioned here.

Anonymous picture

The difference in a typical American diet and a typical Mexican diet has got to be a major factor. Americans on average eat a lot of processed foods, fast food, simple carbs and sugar and very little produce. A typical Mexican diet, on the other hand, is full of fresh produce (avocados, corn, ...Read more