Last week was a good demonstration of how a culture can significantly influence its nation’s health outcome. The Japanese, by being Japanese, have enhanced their mortality rate making them the best nation in the world for health outcomes. (Bezruchka, 2011) Not all cultures are so egalitarian however and require more programs or impetus to effect change in their health status. As we look at Europe, two countries which stood out to me were Sweden, a relatively wealthy country, and Slovenia; much poorer and agrarian relative to other European nations.
In comparing the U.S. to Sweden, it has become very obvious that Sweden has taken its population health much more seriously. Sweden has put in place laws and programs which affect the prenatal and neonatal development of its children. (Bezruchka, 2011) Sweden has realized that good health outcomes begin early, and has in place social programs giving new mothers a mandatory year of paid leave. (Bezruchka, 2011) This paid leave allows the parents, especially the mother, time to be present during the most critical time of development. (Laureate, 2011) Sweden also has state funded day care centers for when the mother does return to work. By investing in the early stages of child development, Sweden is curbing the expenses of later health care costs. The U.S., in comparison, does not have any programs for maternity, paid leave or child day care. There are a few corporations such as Facebook, Google, and Cisco which are at the forefront of providing for their employees. (Alsever, 2013) These represent corporations investing in their employees, and not a government concerned about the health of its people. The programs are not free to the employees. (Alsever, 2013)
Another European cou...
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...child care?, Tech Fortune.com, downloaded from, http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2013/10/14/the-most-powerful-moms/
Commission of the European Communities. (2007). Together for health: A strategic approach for the EU 2008-2013 [White paper]. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/health-eu/doc/whitepaper_en.pdf
Holt-Lunstad J, Smith TB, Layton JB (2010) Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review. PLoS Med 7(7): e1000316. doi:10.1371/
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2011). Population health and issues in disease prevention. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Shonkoff, J., Boyce, W., & McEwen, B. (2009). Neuroscience, molecular biology, and the childhood roots of health disparities: Building a new framework for health promotion and disease prevention. JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association, 301(21), 2252-2 259.
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