Bodies and Buildings Class 3: Health Systems and Open Data
We mapped the obesity systems of Japan, Mongolia, Korea, Columbia, and the NJ Path Conductors.
Last week students not born in the US were surprised that the obesity epidemic “snuck up” on Americans. So students looked at other countries, and those that focused on their home countries were surprised to find the epidemic at its roots.
Global trends in non US countries:
- Japan is the least obese country, but not uniformly. In Okinawa, were Western lifestyle was introduced, obesity rates are at 50%.
- Peer pressure keeps women at low BMI rates in Bogota, Columbia and the rest of Japan among women, but the reverse is true for men.
- Depression and Korea and Japan are a growing problem, but not correlated to obesity the way this happens in the US.
- In Columbia and Mongolia, governments have introduced efforts to discourage malnourishment – yet only a few years later the problem shifts to an increase in obesity.
- Ethnographic observation of American work conditions vs. other countries reveals a profound difference in respect, dignity, and life experience. We compared the PATH train conductor to the Russian museum security guard with the Japanese shinkansen train conductor, and the connections between work, dignity, and obesity.
Here are class notes:
And next week’s assignment:
Write a one-page essay to be presented in class.
Assume someone you love has been prescribed a wearable device to track their glucose levels, heart rate, and emotional state, and the doctor is at a research organization asking for the data to be donated to a larger research effort.
What do you advise and why?
Would this change if the research study was also measuring the quality and quantity of interactions between caregivers (yourself) and your loved one?