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- http://www.sundaytimes.lk/150419/uploads/gym-cartoon-232×300.jpg & http://www.sundaytimes.lk/120325/images/PF-1.jpg
A.M Ovini H Amarasinghe