Unexpected Benefit of Being Poor and Under-Educated

Unexpected Benefit of Being Poor and Under-Educated

Being poor in the USA and coming from lower socioeconomic groups is associated with substandard care, increased morbidity, and mortality from a variety of diseases. I have seen many a patient over the years who, due to lack of insurance or resources, put off seeking care for their HIV or diabetes and presented to the hospital with fatal complications of their illness.

It is hard to find a study to show that being poor is good for your health.

One may be vaccinations. At least in the US deliberately avoiding vaccinations is often a pastime of the affluent in many communities.


Those with fewer resources need to get their children educated in the public school system and part of attending the schools is being up-to-date on vaccinations.

I would not suggest it is good to be poor, but at it would appear that an inadvertent beneficial consequence of the lack of access of information about worthless of pseudo-medicines is preventing them from using acupuncture, chiropractic, natural products, and yoga.

The authors of Limited Health Knowledge as a Reason for Non-Use of Four Common Complementary Health Practices would appear to think this is a bad thing. And their spin is impressive.

One author is from Institute for Holistic Health Studies and the other two from National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. So it is no surprise they would think it is a bad thing that patients are not seeking these pseudo-medicines and suggest

Creative approaches are needed to help reduce inequities in understanding and improve access to care for under served populations.

Interesting spin. I read the article as suggesting the poor and under educated are not being exposed to useless therapies that will only sap their limited resources and provide no relief for their disease.

The poor have enough difficulties finding the resources to acquire real, worthwhile health care. Those of us in practices who take care of all patients regardless of socioeconomic status and insurance know how difficult it is to get real therapies to our patients. The last thing these patients need is to waste their limited resources on acupuncture, chiropractic, natural products, and yoga.

Ignorance may not be bliss when it comes to health care, but at least it is protecting patients from SCAMs. They suggest

Provider-oriented strategies could include broader implementation of best practice guidelines with low socioeconomic status individuals, including recommendations of complementary therapies. Approaches such as these could help reduce inequities in health knowledge and understanding, and improve access to care for under served populations.

I agree. Except I would say that they should save their time and money and avoid complementary therapies.

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