Social research has its methodological limitations in context to evaluating social determinants and health deterrents among various social groups. There are no prescribed all- encompassing questions to measure the cumulative impact of these determinants on population health. Instead, researchers must contend and critically scrutinize the systematic process employed in those research studies. Clearly, capital accumulation is deemed important to stimulate the economic value of countries. But, the entitlement bestowed to corporate organizations with the right to amplify messages of health discordance justifying increased purchase of tobacco, or unhealthy food can reverse the social progress to shifting the mindset of vulnerable communities on adopting healthy behaviors. This report will be a discussion on the impact of the social injustice of food insecurities of vulnerable populations, the benefits and disadvantages of using mass media campaigns to promote health prevention, and the impact effective policies would protect farmers who serve as gatekeepers to feeding communities across the globe.
Food Insecurity: Politics of Social Determinants
Food insecurities are addressed (Brown, 2019) under the cadre that low income and high income countries report these inefficiencies by a society that underscored the need to feed its populations. Albeit, vulnerable communities are not included in the discussion of the impact of nutritional deficiencies on their community status, livelihood and political leverage to galvanize change. Through the vision of creating a just society that treats it’s citizens with respect and honor, there is no mention of educating global communities’ governments on the relationship between physical growth and maintenance of good health. Instead, an emphasis is made on the precarious actions of governments who chose to turn a blind eye on the necessity to create policies that empower the poor and the vulnerable.
The social injustice of nutrition can only be told through the perspectives of those affected by the pangs of hunger. Social policies that administer remedies to hunger such as the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) doea not reveal among women populations who are covered, the number of those who are still food insecure. It is therefore of no surprise that the USDA’s Federal Hunger and Food Security Module accounts that at least 30 million Americans are food insecure (Brown, 2019).
Not only are many Americans food-insecure, global export and import tariffs imposed on food commodities make it unbearable for local farmers’ financial countenance. It deprives them of fair wages and to provide accessible and affordable food to vulnerable populations. This deprivation can lead to the development of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, obesity and ischemic heart disease. In fact, non-communicable diseases receive less than 2% of international aid (Benmaamar et al. 2019). Also, the system does not encourage farmers to provide local produce and feed their families. Therefore, an asset development policy model does not work under these financial restraints because it does not encompass the financial wealth of farmers who may not hold investment accounts, or retirement plans for their families. These communities of farmers are the nexxus to the production of food to feed families across the hemisphere. By cutting the food valve, it can lead to negative ramifications such as Marasmus or nutritional status and cognitive dysfunction in children leading to decreased attendance rates, augmented behavioral and psychological distress.
As Benmaamar et al. (2019) explained, mass media campaigns used to address behavioral change tend to yield positive health outcomes, but one can wonder if the same approach would be useful for addressing nutritional deficiencies in low income communities. If one supposes that health campaigns are heavily promoted in rural areas, unemployed women of color with low levels of health literacy (Lawrence, 2019) or children are rendered vulnerable because they do not possess financial power to implement long term treatment regimens due to limited availability of healthcare.
Apart from the limited availability of healthcare, about 97 countries are planning and budgeting interventions for non-communicable diseases (Benmaamar et al. 2019). It also comes to the fore that economic investment in transnational corporations diverts the attention of the World Health Organization in spending more attention to urgent public health needs in low and middle income countries. To put things differently, governments could require these corporations to advertise preventive measures through their commercial interests in exchange for governmental support. This would surely create a quid pro quo relationship to uphold accountability in addressing these health inequities.
In summary, nutritional deficiencies can be averted in vulnerable communities when effective policies are in place to hold corporate organizations accountable for ensuring their corporate interests are in concordance with the social determinants of health that governments aim to address in their respective countries. Also, it is evident that the commodification of food has left the most vulnerable in society including farmers with less income to afford health insurance coverage or retirement benefits. Without food security, vulnerable communities become exposed to non-communicable diseases which incapacitates them to become self-sufficient. Finally, context-specific research to measure health inequities will be essential to design appropriate health interventions.
- Benmaamar, R., Smith, M. & Yach, D. (2019). Noncommunicable Diseases. In Levy, B. S., & McStowe, H. L. (Eds.), Social injustice and public health (p. 287-305). Oxford University Press.
- Brown, J.L. (2019). Nutrition. In Levy, B. S., & McStowe, H. L. (Eds.), Social injustice and public health (p. 273-285). Oxford University Press.
- Krieger, N. (2019). A Critical Research Agenda for Social Justice and Public Health: An Ecosocial Proposal. In Levy, B. S., & McStowe, H. L. (Eds.), Social injustice and public health (p. 531-552). Oxford University Press.
- Lawrence, R.S. (2019). Promoting Social Justice Through Education in Public Health. In Levy, B. S., & McStowe, H. L. (Eds.), Social injustice and public health (p. 515-529). Oxford University Press.