Given that the United States spends more on health care than most (if not all) industrialized nations in the world, one could reasonably expect the American people to be some of the healthiest citizens in the world. How is it then that modern Americans are significantly less healthy than other societies and, may even be expected to live shorter lives than previous generations? In previous chapters, westernized ideals of control, choice, short-term time orientation, and capitalism were explored as influencing how young people are enculturated in the United States.
In this chapter, aspects of western culture will be viewed through the lens of their impact on our physical health including our perceptions of health, desire to be health and access to health education and resources. In this chapter we will explore the impact of American culture on four aspects of health in United States society:
- American diet
- Sleep hygiene
- Socio-economic status
- Ethnic and racial disparity