America's Mental Health and Associated Health Pathologies

Contributor:  Abdelhakim Al-Maisari

One of the hallmark characteristics of the United States is the homogenization of a plethora of cultures from across the world into one cohesive entity known as the melting pot. Such a social organization is imperative for a successful society in which people are able to better understand each other, work together, and stigmatizes discrimination.  Here in Detroit, we are fortunate enough to enjoy and appreciate these diverse ethnicities and cultures. Detroit alone is home to 688,000 people with backgrounds of French, Belgian, German, Hispanic, Polish, Greek, Middle Eastern, Bangladesh, and African American which enriches cultural traditions. With various types of ethnicities, different lifestyles are practiced by everyone. This includes physical activities, education, types of diets, psychological and social factors. In relation to diets, we live in a society where it is much easier to follow unhealthy food habits and a chore to try to eat healthier. Poor eating choices can lead a person down a spiral of other life changing choices, the obesity rate in Detroit alone is 33.1%(1). Some ethnicities are more prone to certain diseases than others. In a study done by MiYRBS, the obesity rates in 05’-09’ followed the same trend. Black, non-Hispanic populations had a relatively higher prevalence of obesity since 2001. (2)



A very large number of African Americans, Hispanics and Whites follow unhealthy eating habits that are caused by their socioeconomic standing. Processed foods and fast foods is relatively cheaper than wholesome food and is easier to obtain. These obesity rates of African Americans can also be related to diabetes, which is the most prevalent disease in the African American population. 14% of Black residents have diabetes and Hispanics follow up with 10%(3). Whites and Arab Americans have the same rate(7%) as shown bystudy in 2007 also suffer from diabetes (4). Other ethnicities suffer from other health pathologies such as the Arab population smoking water pipes which are traditional and cultural. These views effect not only the parents, but the generations that follow. This promotes future generations to follow in the steps of their elders. 38% of Arab Americans admit to smoking tobacco from a hookah compared to the Michigan population of 13.2% (5). In addition to this, cardiovascular illness are more prevalent than any other disease.

Depression is a psychological factor as opposed to the health factors. Depression is a mental disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Nearly 30% of Hispanics said they have been told that they have depression opposed to the 20% of Michigan adults (6). There could be many reasons for this, such as unemployment, education, language barriers and even family numbers. These factors all could have a toll on a person and too much pressure could lead to failure and the lack of happiness. A huge number of adults live on the weekly paycheck and we can tie that with the lifestyle of Hispanics.

Despite the tenacious nature of our society, each individual cultural component deals with a specific health-related dilemma. Here at MedEq, our goal is to promote safe habits across the board whether it is obtaining a healthy meal, refraining from smoking, or promoting mental health. This way, everyone, disregarding of their culture, is able to attain their maximum health potential. 


/* */