Cynthia's Interests

The world as it unfolds - told from an African American woman's perspective...

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Health Concerns of African Americans

This month WVON has devoted an hour segment to African American health issues. Only one doctor from the University of Chicago suggested concrete tangible things that people could do to improve their overall health. He stated that we should eat more organic fruits and vegetables to circumvent the health issues facing our community. He also stated that it is almost impossible to buy organic food on the south side of Chicago, a predominantly black community. I was impressed with his words since this was the first time a guest speaker gave concrete advice as to ways people can begin the process of improving their health. He didn't go into any details why anyone should incur the extra costs to purchase organic fruits and vegetables; he just stated that this is the best way to improve your health.

Recently, I posted an article on my blog about two studies done in Europe looking at the effects of GM foods fed to rats. One study demonstrated that GM potatoes damaged the immune systems, brains, livers and kidneys of rats, while the other study discovered that rats fed GM corn had smaller kidneys and variations in the composition of their blood raising fears that human health could be affected by eating GM foods. These results are astounding, especially since it was said that this research was 1) carried out secretly by Monsanto, the GM food giant and 2) in the U.S. it is estimated that 60 to 70 percent of all foods on the supermarket shelves today contain genetically modified ingredients. This year, 80 percent of the soybeans planted in the United States and 38 percent of the corn will be genetically engineered, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Now, if people are consuming these types of products, it is easily conceivable to understand why any particular group could suddenly have a health crisis, especially with all the complications that were found in rats fed those products. Some scientists also believe that GM foods are less nutritious, while others believe that the nutritional value remains the same. Let's assume that GM foods are less nutritious (this is what I believe), then one will require more of this type of food to satisfy the body's need for nourishments. As a result, you will inevitably see an increase in obesity and obesity related diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, etc., etc., etc., because of the increase consumption of food that is required to maintain the body.

Although we are getting sub-standard health care compared to our white counter parts, this is not the root cause of our problem since as a people living in this country, we’ve never gotten the same quality of health care and yet, we did not have these health issues in the past that we are constantly being told have reached epidemic proportions. While many white Americans are consuming organic food (normal) because of some type of perceived detrimental impact of GM foods on their health or the environment, African Americans on the other hand, are consuming GM foods on a daily basis, which have been shown to cause health problems in another mammal (rats). It is then conceivable that this could account for the health disparities observed between the two groups (whites and blacks) at least in this country.

Furthermore, it is interesting to note that one of the conditions that is created by consuming GM foods in rats - if this condition was found in humans; it would be defined as HIV/AIDS (the damage to the immune system). From these studies, one can clearly hypothesize that there are other factors that are avoidable that could cause harm to either the immune system directly independent of HIV and those same factors are contributing to the worsening of the health conditions of African Americans.

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