IntroductionDiabetes being one of the fastest growing diseases in Canada is a shocker to many with the disease being a preventable type of illness. This disease especially the Type 2 Diabetes is very strong as it strong genetic and environmental components. According to statistics from the government of Canada, around 60,000 cases of diabetes arise every year. 16.5% of those diagnosed are the Alaska Natives and the American Indians. This rate is considered to be more than twice the total average rate of 7.8%. The major causes of health and death problems are mostly from diabetes complications which are witnessed among the Native Americans (Wilkins, 2007). From these statistics, it is clear that Diabetes in Canada mostly affects the minority groups who are underprivileged. Those affected find it hard to manage the treatment because the cost is too expensive for them. About the movie Gift of Diabetes, the research will explore the unnatural causes that bring inequality in health thus making people sick.
Review of the Movie
From the movie Gift of Diabetes, Brion Whitford from Winnipeg comes to the realization that his sugar levels are too high thus affecting his kidneys. He struggles with the fact that the sugar levels have affected his kidneys to a level where they are functioning at a 50% level (Whitford and National Film Board of Canada, 2005). He, therefore, decides to use the native medicines which he is skeptical about. The film tries to trace the search for improved health, while repairing the fractured ties Brion had to his heritage. This journey reawakens the history of traumatic healing. This movie is being used by organizations in Canada to help in tackling the root causes of the alarming racial inequalities and socio-economic in health. It also suggests that there is more to health than health care, unlucky genes, and bad eating habits. This means the social factors in which people are born, live and work can affect their physiology in the same magnitude as the viruses and germs. These factors include the connection between bank accounts and healthy bodies, bad sugar, how racism is embedded in the body thus affecting the birth outcomes, place of residence, and unemployment. These factors result in the native immigrants arriving healthy in the country but do not remain the same due to such factors.
Determinants of Health Inequality
The place where a person lives can determine their health in a number of ways. Such factors surrounding the environment people live in including schools, parks, pollution, violence and cultural heritage (Shapcott, 2009). Most of the natives living in Canada live in some of the areas characterized by most of the characteristics mentioned. Diabetes being a progressive disease is likely to be caused by sedentary lifestyles, fatty food, and obesity. These environmental factors trigger the epidemic in the world today.
In the ancient times, elders can attest to the fact that people mostly gathered and hunted for food that was used to make simple meals. People in those days also walked a lot. The diet in those days was lean where people ate foods such as quail, fish, beans and game meat. However, this changed when the new diet was introduced by the white man. The study shows that the fat content of the food introduced rose from 17% to 38%. These eating habits brought about disorders such as diabetes which is a risk factor for those with Type Two Diabetes (Augar and Alix, 2009). The environmental factors such as pollution and overcrowding will not only have an effect with on diabetes but on other diseases such as tuberculosis.
Incomes and incomes distribution is also important in determining the health inequality. Low incomes, especially among the minority groups, predispose the population to social and material deprivation. The greater the deprivation is, the less likely these families will afford the basic requisites of health like housing, food, and clothing. This deprivation can also deter others from participating in in health education, cultural and recreational activities that training people on managing diseases affecting them. In this effect, social seclusion can affect a persons health and lessen their ability to fulfill their daily lives.
In Canada, there has been an increase in wealth inequality which is more troubling as it is an indicator of the long-term health incomes. For example from the year 1984 to 2005, the lower class families contributing to 30% of the population did not have a net worth over this period which increased their debts. The top families that contributed to 10% of the population in the year 2005 had a net worth of $1.2 million which was an increase as compared to the figures from 1984 (Augar and Alix, 2009). From these figures, it is proof enough that income inequality being a key health policy issue needs to be addressed. This means that the low-income earners will be able to afford medication. From the movie, it is clear that Brion struggled with paying or the medication, and that is why he resulted to spiritual healing.
Some of the effects that are often unmeasured and ignored are internal colonization, oppression, loss of cultural identity and slow dissolution of spiritual traditions. From the documentary, Brion tells the story of a journey through his advanced diabetes. Complications of the diseases caused the filmmaker to try other traditional methods since biomedicine was not monitoring his condition especially the long-term effects of despair, hopelessness, and anger (Whitford and National Film Board of Canada, 2005). What makes Brion skeptical is the fact that he was raised in the city and had little knowledge of his cultural heritage.
This film can be used as a component for future research on the unnatural inequality causes that make the minority and disadvantaged people sick. The information conveyed by Brion spiritual mentors in his complementary pieces have made a valuable piece of work that can be used by all those people interested in learning how the natives feel about diabetes, the treatment of the disease and their plights that are connected to diabetes. It is through the advice Brion gets from the spiritual elders that the reader gets a broad sense on how the aboriginals take responsibility for fighting diabetes. This film can help the Canadian Diabetes Association and the aboriginals because of its sensitive nature of diabetes and because it is non-judgemental as it portrays the journey of a man with diabetes. It could also be important because diabetes is one of the epidemics that are widespread in the Canadian Aboriginal communities. This film is therefore, highly recommended.
Auger, N., & Alix, C. (2009). Income, Income Distribution, and Health in Canada. In D. Raphael (Ed.), Social Determinants of Health: Canadian Perspectives (pp. 61-74). 2nd edition. Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press.
Shapcott, M. (2009). Housing. In D. Raphael (Ed.), Social Determinants of Health: Canadian Perspectives (pp. 221-234). 2nd edition. Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press.
Whitford, O. B., & National Film Board of Canada. (2005). The gift of diabetes. Montreal: National Film Board of Canada.
Wilkins, R. (2007). Mortality by Neighbourhood Income in Urban Canada from 1971 to 2001. HAMG Seminar, 16 January 2007. Ottawa: Statistics Canada.
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