Jan 192010
Authors: Matt Miller

Those struggling to lead a healthy lifestyle may find that their street address is as important as eating a salad or going to the gym.

According to the documentary “Unnatural Causes,” which will be shown in room 228 of the Lory Student Center today at 3 p.m., socio-economic and racial inequalities affect people just as much as their daily habits.

Campus Activities has organized the showing as a part of Martin Luther King Jr. Week in an effort to promote social justice, organizer Helen Kang said. The seven-part documentary delves into factors that affect health around America including racism and distribution of resources.

After seeing the documentary when it aired on PBS, event organizers said that “Unnatural Causes” was relevant to recent events surrounding the health care debate.

“We’re hoping that students and community get a better awareness of how social economic status affects them,” Kang said. “Students of all economic classes are affected.”

The four-hour documentary will be shown in three segments on three dates: today, Feb. 3 and Feb. 17. Today’s event will be the first hour of “Unnatural Causes,” followed by a discussion with a panel of experts.

The panel is made up of a wide variety of people including professors from ethnic studies, anthropology and environmental and radiological health sciences. Also on the panel will be clinician Stephanie DeRosby and Applied Social Psychology Chair Ernest Chavez.

“We wanted to have a broad selection of perspectives,” Kang said.

“I hope to bring a dialogue on not just how class affects access to health care, but about how communities are structured in terms of socio-economic class and how people’s health is affected,” said panel member and ethnic studies professor Richard Breaux.

“It will give (those who attend) a greater insight into the people around them,” Breaux said.

Breaux added that a portion of the documentary that stuck with him was its discussion of people’s access to public transportation and employment. He went on to explain that people without access to public transit are often unable to work.

“What is interesting is that the documentary never suggests one health care over another,” Breaux said. “It says how our background relates to our health.”

“Social class adds to stress level and nutrition,” said sophomore art major Adam White. “The place you’re given in society, whether you chose it or not, can affect you.”

White added that although the effects of race and social status may be hard to sometimes difficult to see at CSU, he said the documentary’s claims were plausible.

“The event is very tailored to students and community,” Kang said. “It goes beyond habits. It’s about the experiences people live because of their socio-economic status.”

Staff writer Matt Miller can be reached at news@collegian.com.

Documentary showing

-When: Today, 3 to 5 p.m.
-Where: Lory Student Center, room 228
-What: The showing of “Unnatural Causes” and the following one-hour discussion is free and open to the public.

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