How would one briefly reflect on how the commonly held sentiment, “We are all born equal,” may constrain how society thinks about early life? Comment on influences that this concept may...

How would one briefly reflect on how the commonly held sentiment, “We are all born equal,” may constrain how society thinks about early life? Comment on influences that this concept may overlook or mask. Then, explain two ways the use of concepts of the developmental origins of life and health can influence adult morbidity. Describe two challenges to addressing the upstream risk and protective determinants of health in current health policies and programs in the U.S. or in other countries. Also, explain why they are challenges. Finally, offer two suggestions for improving child health that can have a long-term benefit on population health for one chronic disease and explain why.

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As we are limited in space, below are some ideas to help get you started. Based on the concept of development origins of life and health, it can be shown that the commonly held notion, "We are all born equal," is a logical fallacy. Scholars and doctors have proven that those who are born into poverty have unequal opportunities with respect to education, health, morality rates, job prospects, crime rates, and even abuse. As Dr. Kent Thornburg phrases it, one thing that has been proven is that "stresses experienced in the womb--virtually of all which have roots in the social and physical environment--alter" the way in which a fetus's organs are shaped. Changing the shape of the organs also means that the fetus's genetics will never be fully expressed throughout its life. Poorly shaped organs and poorly expressed genetics lead to the fetus being vulnerable to disease, both as a child and in adult life ("A Very Brief Description of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease"). More specifically, developmental origins are the root causes of "most, if not all, chronic disease" ("A Very Brief Description"). Examples of stressors that can lead to poor health are "under-or-over nutrition," a mother's high levels of stress hormone, and low amounts of oxygen in the womb. Examples of social stressors that can also lead to chronic poor health are poor housing conditions and unemployment, which are both known to contribute to adult heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis ("A Very Brief Description").

When it comes to poverty, we also know that children are more susceptible to the effects of inequality than adults. When we compare rich children to poor children across the world, we see that morality rates of the poorest children double in size ("Born Equal: How Reducing Inequality Could Give Our Children A Better Future"). For many countries, for the poorest children, there is also more inequality in educational opportunities for girls than there are for boys. All across the board, the rates of abuse suffered by poor children in comparison to rich children increase, but for many countries, poor girls suffer more abuse in comparison to poor boys, especially in countries in which gender roles are stigmatized ("Born Equal"). As far as unequal educational opportunities go, it's known that even "short-term [nutritional] deprivations can have permanent consequences," including "learning and memory deficits, lower school achievement, and behavioral problems" ("Born Equal"). Therefore, for even the poor children who are able to attend school, the chances of being successful in their education are much lower than the chances of rich children. What's more, good education is necessary for improved chances of employment and "accruing wealth" ("Born Equal"). In other words, poor children are more likely to stay poor, leading to an endless cycle of poverty, while rich children are more likely to stay rich, leading to an endless cycle of inequality ("Born Equal").

One consequence of society continuing to see all as being born equal is that nothing would be done to improve the gap in wealth between the rich and poor and nothing would be done to help alleviate some of the effects of poverty, such as providing poor children with needed nutrition and helping them succeed in their educations.