Unnatural causes : is inequality making us sick?

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  • Includes public performance rights.


  • A seven-part documentary series arguing that "health and longevity are correlated with socioeconomic status; people of color face an additional health burden, and our health and well-being are tied to policies that promote economic and social justice. Each of the half-hour program segments, set in different racial/ethnic communities, provides a deeper exploration of the ways in which social conditions affect population health and how some communities are extending their lives be improving them"--Container insert.
  • In sickness and in wealth: "What connections exist between healthy bodies, healthy bank accounts and skin color? Follow four individuals from different walks of life to see how their position in society, shaped by social policies and public priorities, affects their health"--Container insert.
  • When the bough breaks: "African American infant mortality rates remain twice as high as for white Americans. African American mothers with college degrees or higher face the same risk of having low birth-weight babies as white women who haven't finished high school. How might the chronic stress of racism over the life course become embedded in our bodies and increase risks?"--Container insert.
  • Becoming American: "Recent Mexican immigrants tend to be healthier than the average American. But those health advantages erode the longer they've been here. What causes health to worsen as immigrants become American? What can we all learn about improved well-being from new immigrant communities?"--Container insert.
  • Bad sugar: "O'odham Indians, living on reservations in southern Arizona, have perhaps the highest rate of Type 2 diabetes in the world. Some researchers see this as the literal 'embodiment' of decades of poverty, oppression, and loss. A new approach suggests that communities may regain control over their health if they can regain control over their futures"--Container insert.
  • Place matters: "Increasingly, recent Southeast Asian immigrants, along with Latinos, are moving into long-neglected African American urban neighborhoods, and now their health is being eroded as a result. What policies and investment decisions create living environments that harm, or enhance, the health of residents? What actions can make a difference?"--Container insert.
  • Collateral damage: "In the Marshall Islands, local populations have been displaced from their traditional way of life by the American military presence and globalization. Now they must contend with the worst of the 'developing' and industrialized worlds: infectious diseases such as tuberculosis due to crowded living conditions, and extreme poverty and chronic disease, stemming in part from the stress of dislocation and loss"--Container insert.
  • Not just a paycheck: "Residents of Western Michigan struggle against depression, domestic violence and higher rates of heart disease and diabetes after the largest refrigerator factory in the country shuts down. Ironically, the plant is owned by a company in Sweden, where mass layoffs, far from devastating lives, are relatively benign because of government policies that protect and retrain workers"--Container insert.


  • Originally produced for American Public Television in 2008.
  • Container insert includes summaries and complete contents of each episode.
  • DVD ; widescreen format.
  • Menus and audio in English or Spanish ; optional English or Spanish subtitles ; English closed-captions for the hearing impaired.


  • Introduction (5 min.) -- In sickness and in wealth (56 min.) / produced by Christine Herbes-Sommers, Llewellyn M. Smith ; directed by Llewellyn M. Smith ; editors, Chuck Scott, Andrea Williams, William A. Anderson ; composer, Claudio Ragazzi ; directors of photography, Stephen McCarthy, Richard Chisolm -- When the bough breaks (29 min.) / produced by Tracy Heather Strain, Randall MacLowry, Eric Stange ; directed by Tracy Heather Strain; editors, Randall MacLowry, Chuck Scott, James Rutenbeck ; composer, Tom Phillips ; directors of photography, Jonathan Weaver, Keith Walker -- Becoming American (29 min.) / produced and directed by Patricia Garcia Rios, Maria Teresa Rodriguez ; editor, Andrea Williams ; composer, Claudio Ragazzi ; director of photography, Richard Chisolm -- Bad sugar (29 min.) / produced and directed by James M. Fortier ; editor, Chuck Scott ; composer, Claudio Ragazzi ; directors of photography, Dan Krause, James M. Fortier -- Place matters (29 min.) / produced and directed by Ellie Lee ; editor, Andrea Williams ; composer, Tom Phillips ; directors of photography, John Baynard ... [et al.] -- Collateral damage (29 min.) / directed and produced by Eric Stange ; editors, Chuck Scott, James Rutenbeck ; composer, Claudio Ragazzi ; director of photography, Stephen McCarthy -- Not just a paycheck (30 min.) / directed and produced by James Rutenbeck ; editors, Andrea Williams, James Rutenbeck, Chuck Scott ; composer, Claudio Ragazzi ; director of photography, Richard Chisolm
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