Tuesday, September 12, 2006

East versus West?

A new study at the Harvard School of public health states: "Although we share in the U.S. a reasonably common culture...there's still a lot of variation in how people live their lives."

The study analyzed mortality data between 1982-2001, and came up with distinct groupings that they named the eight Americas:
_Asian-Americans, average per capita income of $21,566, have a life expectancy of 84.9 years.

_Northland low-income rural whites, $17,758, 79 years.

_Middle America (mostly white), $24,640, 77.9 years.

_Low income whites in Appalachia, Mississippi Valley, $16,390, 75 years.

_Western American Indians, $10,029, 72.7 years.

_Black Middle America, $15,412, 72.9 years.

_Southern low-income rural blacks, $10,463, 71.2 years.

_High-risk urban blacks, $14,800, 71.1 years.

The longest-living sub-group was Asian American women living in Bergen County with Asians in general exceeding the life expectancy of the next long-livin' group (rural whites) by almost 6 years.

Who know what this is related to, but I DO know that year I spent living in Korea (Seoul is pretty polluted, however) did change my views on healthcare pretty fundamentally. Koreans still incorporate the Eastern medicine ideas of staying healthy and strengthening the immune system through tonics, food, walking in the mountain air, and spring water instead of always focusing on drugs and surgery as a "cure." The concept of balance was always a big one, as I had everyone from my Fulbright faculty advisor to random people on the street telling me, "You look too yang, you should be eating more ___."

Plus, like many Asian women, my mom never had any menopause symptoms--hot flashes and things like that are also considered signals of "imbalance." She's not a huge Eastern medicine type, but she does eat a fairly Asian-y (e.g., fermented soy) diet. Who knows?


FertilityBitch's Eastern moneysaving tip of the day: you can buy shitake mushroom cheeeeeeep at a Korean grocery. Just go in and ask for p'yogo mushrooms. Dr. Andrew Weil thinks these mushrooms have immune modulating, anti-viral and cholesterol-reducing properties. Certain extracts of shiitake mushrooms are used in Japan as adjunctive therapy to strengthen immunity of cancer patients during chemotherapy and radiation.

To be filed under: He calls it medicine, I call it delicious in kimbap.


Anonymous said...

What! I grew up in Bergen County. There really aren't TONS of Asian-American women in Bergen County, NJ, but my mother would have been one of them. I wonder if her life expectancy is going down now that she lives in California.

GreenFertility said...

I wonder if there are more now? Eat your seaweed!

Christina( ^ _ ^ ) said...

well, my life expectancy just went down 15 years...

GreenFertility said...

why, didy ou start smoking???

Christina( ^ _ ^ ) said...

No, I just found out more problems with me, Sometimes I wish i could start smoking, but then again how would I get into college.

Anonymous said...

A total anecdote, but I just found out that my 42 year old friend from Japan just got pregnant. She's 7 years older than me and it was an oops! kind of thing. They weren't even trying. I absolutely think it was her diet and sense of balance. Here she's been eating seaweed, rice, veggies etc. and yams as a snack (oh my!) while I had been running off to the French bakery during my 2 year quest to get pregant. Worry not, I've changed my diet drastically in the past 3 months (yup, seaweed is part of it) and I'm trying to develop my yin!


GreenFertility said...

Christina, you are too young to have so many health problems! :(

GreenFertility said...


That sounds great! Seaweed has been also found to shrink tumours...also provides weird trce minerals from the sea water that I think are soooo important. Mi yuk guk, seaweed soup is a traditional birth food. I think it's some super duper kind of kelp.

Yams are great, like Nature's clomid. Just be careful about (if yu are eating "true" yams) making sure to cook them fully: http://greenfertility.blogspot.com/2006/06/yams-and-fertility.html

GreenFertility said...

p.s. Ali, I can't find your email for some reason (messy in box) but if you want to guest-blog and tell us all about the retreat, email me :)