The poor live longer than the rich…


The documentary we watched on Tuesday made me think how differently wealth and social status affected health and the life expectancy in developing countries. In Sri Lanka, quite a large fraction of poor people are much healthier and have a long life expectancy when compared to the rich. This is completely different from what we observed in the documentary shown on Tuesday. The better off people in Sri Lanka, mostly work in offices for long hours. They come every morning, sit down and work all day long. This practice promotes obesity and many heart diseases. They don’t have enough time to exercise and burn the calories. On the other hand, the poor people have very active jobs. Most of the poor people are farmers, carpenters or housemaids. This group of people are continuously burning calories while they work. Sri Lanka is a low-income country so jobs like farming are not equipped with high-tech machines. The farmers have to use their own strength to plough the fields. Therefore, the poor people are less prone to heart diseases and obesity. Another factor which influences this difference is the fact that only rich can afford all fast food restaurants. More than half of the country have not tasted a slice of pizza. The rich are generally addicted to eating from fast food restaurants. This, in turn, increases their cholesterol and blood pressure. In the documentary we watched on Tuesday, it was the other way around. It was the poor people in the suburbs that ate a lot of fast food when compared to the rich. Surprisingly, the poor in Sri Lanka eat more vegetables and rice. Most of them are farmers and they generally grown these vegetables in their gardens. The only foods they can afford are vegetables and rice. Resulting a healthier life for the poor. The children of poor families have to walk to their school while the rich use cars. The poor kids play run and catches-active games in their free time while the rich kids sat and watched the television. Generally, the poor people in Sri Lanka have a higher life expectancy when compared to the rich. I personally believe that education is the key to build a healthy community. We should broaden the definition of education in developing countries. Most of the people think that education is one particular subject, like Finance or Chemistry. All the universities in Sri Lanka provide education only in their major. I feel that this should be broadened and taught more about health and survival skills. Education is the key to produce a healthy community throughout the country.

Images-×300.jpg &

A.M Ovini H Amarasinghe


9 thoughts on “The poor live longer than the rich…

  1. I found it really interesting that what you thought would be true really isn’t the case for the people of Sri Lanka. Normally, you would think that poorer people would be less healthy due to the lack of healthcare, education & proper nourishment. I agree that education could stop this problem, but if the rich are already receiving an education and don’t do anything to combat the issue, does that mean they just don’t want to try? Thank you for your post!

    -Gabriella Feltman


    • I think it’s because the education is confined to a paticular subject. The quality of education should change. People should be aware of the health and not just chemistry or physics or economics…


  2. I think poor in urban is very different than poor in rural. While poor people in rural are some what self-sufficient to use sources to maintain their health, poor people in urban are asked to pay money for what rural people enjoy for almost free- jogging and walking, vegetables, fresh air and water, etc. However, regardless of that, it is very common to see a lot of young adults move into a city to make more money, specially in developing countries.


  3. This was interesting to read. It was cool to see this comparison, I think it really brought out what the documentary we watched really means. Very interesting read!

    Becca Roberts


  4. I think that the physical activity brings with it actual stress relief at the same time as well. Or perhaps the poor don’t see any way their situation could get worse.
    Matt McDaniel


  5. I liked your fact on the Sir Lanka population. I did not know that, that is very interesting. I also agree that education could stop this problem but you can only have access to so much when you are poor.


  6. I like the population study that you provided in your blog. I too think that health and survival skills should be taught as a broader course work in the education system of all incomes levels, and especially in places where that type of education might be more important because of the disadvantages that they might face during their life times because of a lower income.

    Josh Clyde


  7. Wow this is a really good point! A lot of poorer people do typically have more active jobs, which would be healthier. I wonder if this is the case everywhere. Unfortunately I think the lack of healthy foods available to poorer people hinder the progress of having more active jobs, but this is a really interesting perspective. It does seem that people who spend a lot of time in an office would not have much time for exercise!


  8. This is so interesting and makes so much sense. Its crazy how that country is so different from our’s. Can we find a perfect balance with exercise and healthy eating and work? Can we balance out the life expectancy among classes?

    -Emma Kidder


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