LOVE PEOPLE Wants To Fight Obesity

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the nation’s leading agency working on the prevention and control of diseases, including obesity (yes, obesity is a disease), there has been a striking and frightening rise in obesity in the United States.

The CDC has put out in 2009-2010 that the number of adults suffering from obesity in the country is more than 35.7% or one-third of the adult population and approximately 17% or 12.5 million children and adolescents aged 2-19 years old.

Obesity must not be confounded with overweight. To determine if someone is either obese or overweight, the person’s Body Mass Index (BMI), a relationship between the person’s weight and his or her height, is to be calculated. This figure is important in that it gives indication on the person’s amount of body fat. For example, an adult with a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight, whereas one with a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese.

The disease has some serious and costly implications on the health of the population. An obese individual is prone to or has a natural inclination to many conditions -such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes type 2 and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of death in the country.

Four years ago, precisely in 2008, the CDC confirmed that “medical costs associated with obesity were estimated at $147 billion.” That being said, any smart approach to reducing health care costs in America must take into account the prevention of obesity through a system of health promotion to include healthy eating and exercise, which can be hugely impacted by socioeconomics.

In the spirit of keeping its members healthy, the discussion group Love People on Facebook is inviting everyone to take part in its 2nd Love People Power Walk at Prosper Park in Brooklyn, New York on Saturday, August 11, 2012 at 6:00 PM sharp. Point of meeting:  corner of Ocean Ave and Parkside Ave (inside the McDonald’s). To register, inbox Star Point on Facebook.

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Do Not Let Bad Breath Wilt Your Image

Halitosis seems to be a serious issue nowadays, since 90 million Americans suffer from it. Surveys reveal that “it can wilt your love life, and even cost you that new job.”

The main focus of this article is halitosis or bead breath -its cause, its impact on our lives, how to fight it and how to tell a friend that he or she has it.

Most people with stinky breath do not even realize that they have it because “the brain becomes acclimated to one’s own personal scent.”

According to Dr. Harold Katz, bacteriologist and founder of the California Breath Clinic, the way to check if you have bad breath is not to smell your own breath in cupped hand; rather, it is to “lick the back of your hand, let it dry for a few seconds, and then smell the surface.”

Bad breath has nothing to do with the state of your dental hygiene because “you can have good teeth, rotten teeth or no teeth at all and still have bad breath. It has to do with the tongue,” Dr. Katz says.

The way to determine the smell of your breath -if it is fresh or foul -is to conduct a tongue test by looking at the color of your tongue. A tongue that indicates fresh breath should look pink and shiny, whereas one that appears white and scaly does indicate bad breath, according to Dr. Katz.

It is said that more than 600 types of bacteria can be located in the average mouth, many of which house under the surface of the tongue and cause the unpleasant smell in the mouth.

Now that we know the etiology of halitosis, let us see together how to fight it.

To fight halitosis, it is recommended that you keep your mouth hydrated, for a dry mouth is the perfect environment for the breeding and growth of offensive-smelling bacteria on your tongue.”Saliva has oxygen in it, which makes it a natural enemy for the foul-smelling bacteria,” Katz says. “They can’t live in the presence of oxygen, so drinking water and chewing sugar-free gum can produce saliva and naturally get rid of bad breath.”

Now, keep in mind that sugar-free mint or mouthwash can only provide temporary relief by masking the foul smell but does not really eradicate the offensive-smelling bacteria causing the bad breath.

Be watchful and mindful of the foods and acid beverages you consume as some -such as garlic, onions, curry, fish, beer, wine, coffee and soda -can be a trigger. They all contain foul-odor-releasing compounds that get absorbed into your bloodstream; the odor is given off in your breath until all of the food is out of your body.

It is also recommended that you limit as well your consumption of chocolate candy and sweets as the sugar they contain does help bacteria to reproduce in your mouth, leading to bad breath.

On the flip side of the issue, if there is an array of foods you are asked to stay away from for their strong odor, there are some you are recommended and encouraged to consume because they do fix bad breath.

For example, “Green tea has anti-bacterial properties that knock out the stink. Cinnamon contains essential oils that kill many types of oral bacteria. Try adding fresh cinnamon to your morning toast or oatmeal, or adding a stick to flavor your tea.”

According to Dr. Katz, foods that are high in vitamin C -such as berries, melons, oranges, etc… –are recommended to fight bad breath because they help kill smelly bacteria naturally.

He also recommends that people eat crisp fruits and vegetables, such as celery or apples, because they offer dual bad-breath-busting benefits: a. chewing them will produce more saliva in the mouth; 2. their firm texture will also help scrub away bacteria.

If you do all the aforementioned things in an attempt to modify your lifestyle and eating habits and yet your bad breath has not rescinded, it is advised that you contact your health care provider to make sure that it does not have to do with a more serious medical condition.

It has been scientifically surveyed that about 10% of bad breath cases have to do with a symptom of chronic sinus or respiratory infection, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), liver and kidney disorder, cancer or diabetes. These diseases can release into the body chemicals that cause bad breath.

Your friend has been slapping you left and right every chance he or she gets with his or her bad breath, yet you are not bold enough to tell him or her. How should you tell him or her that his or her bad breath is invading your comfort zone?

Well, as mentioned earlier, keep in mind that most people cannot smell their own breath. So if you detect a friend’s bad breath, do not be afraid to speak up on that and let him or her know about it.

Granted, telling a person -a close colleague, friend or lover –that his or her breath is offensive and makes you feel uncomfortable can be awkward for everybody involved to do. But it is still the right thing to do. After all, if you were the one with stinky breath, you would want to know so you could do something about it, would you not?

Now, let us see what the experts have to say on the issue of breaking the bad breath news. Patricia Napier-Fitzpatrick, founder of The Etiquette School of New York, though she acknowledges the delicacy and sensitiveness of the issue, believes that speaking up is good manners. She said: “If people are talking about them behind their back, it turns into a worse situation. If you respect the person, it’s your duty to tell them.”

How does she recommend that you proceed to break the bad breath news to the person? She believes that there are two possible approaches:

1. Just sit down with your friend in a private setting and be direct. Start off the conversation by telling them you believe there is an issue they would want to know about and that you are not too sure they are aware of it.

2. In the event that you know the person is sensitive, you may need to be a little bit more cautious about your approach. Delicately and kindly, bring up the issue by carrying mints with you. Take one yourself first and then offer one to your friend who has bad breath. If the person does not accept it, Fitzpatrick says it is acceptable to offer a nudge by simply saying, “I think you should.”

As the saying goes, first impressions, professionally and personally, last a lifetime. So it makes no type of sense whatsoever to let bad breath wilt your image. Taking incremental steps to control the chemical reactions happening inside your mouth will keep you smelling fresh, agreeable and tolerable.

President Martelly Was Flirting With Death

Yesterday afternoon, aboard a commercial airplane, President Martelly was rushed to the Miami hospital he was operated on probably as a result of preliminary signs such as dyspnea (difficulty breathing), tachypnea (shortness of breast), coughing and chest pain on inspiration. After meticulously examining the case, the medical staff came up with pulmonary embolism as the diagnosis.

Briefly, pulmonary embolism is a situation that occurs as a result of a circulating thrombus (blood clot) blocking the circulation of the blood at the level of the lungs. That is the basic definition.

Sequential compression devices (SCDs)

Prolonged bed rest resulting from a major invasive procedure places the patient at risk for post-operative thromboembolism. So to avoid such complication, they usually attach to the patient’s lower extremities sequential compression devices (SCDs) -stockings that wrap around the legs and periodically inflate and deflate with air -to accelerate the venous blood return. Ambulating the patient immediately after surgery also reduces the risk of thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.

From a pathophysiological standpoint, since the exchange of carbon dioxide (CO2) for oxygen (O2) taking place in the lungs is compromised (as a result of the blockage), the patient’s supply in O2 decreases -which eventually, if not rushed to the ER to be treated urgently, will cause cyanosis (a bluish or purplish coloration of the skin as a result of a low circulating oxygen saturation), low blood pressure, tachycardia, tachypnea, collapse and sudden death. So needless to say that pulmonary embolism is a serious condition.

Now, in the case of President Martelly, what could be the cause of such condition? Well, since he just had a right shoulder arthroscopy to treat a damage joint, this will be the main focus in the investigation of the case. But other underlining conditions -hypertension, diabetes, etc… -could cause that as well. So it is imperative to have a clear understanding of the president’s medical history to pinpoint what exactly is the root cause of the condition.

Pulmonary embolism is a treatable condition. Normally, they will proceed with anticoagulant to undo or dissolve the clot. So while the patient is in the hospital, they will probably heparinize him or her with heparin to be tapered down as the patient is being put on warfarin (coumadin) before being sent home still on warfarin (coumadin) therapy.

While on warfarin, the president will have to have his blood studied every month to determine the effects of the therapy and if he must be taken off the drug.

President Martelly was literally flirting with death. So it was a good thing that he was rushed to the hospital to receive the appropriate and most needed medical care. Otherwise, the unexpected, which is death, could have resulted. Per the press release issued by his office, his health is in stable condition. I wish him a speedy recovery.

Clostridium Difficile: A Serious Bacterium

Clostridium difficile

There is an array of antibiotics –Erythromycin, Azythromycin, Ampicillin, Penicillin, Amoxicillin, Methicillin, Doxycycline, Tetracycline, etc… -out there to treat bacterial infections. However, extended or prolonged use of them is very dangerous in that the patient could become infected with this bacterium called Clostridium difficile or C difficile or C diff.

In the intestine, as we all know, we do have our “normal flora” –good bacteria necessary for life sustainment. What the extended or prolonged use of antibiotics does, it destroys these bacteria, making the patient very prone or susceptible to being infected with Clostidrium difficle.

The shell of this bacterium is just as hard as the shell of a crab, making it very hard to kill because antibiotics will have difficulty to penetrate it.

A ruptured inflamed colon

As a result of this bacterium, the patient will develop diarrhea, which, if not stopped urgently, could cause inflammation of the colon or enterocolitis or colitis, which could cause the colon to burst open, rupture or break open. So it is imperative that we stop the diarrhea to prevent further complications. To achieve that, we use right away the combination of two very strong antibiotics –Vancomycin and Flagyl (Metronidazole).

When caring for these patients infected with Clostidrium difficile, it is highly recommended that all necessary measures are used to prevent direct contact with them. In the medical profession, these types of measures are called “contact isolation,” implying the use of a protective gown and gloves because of the contagious nature of the bacterium. Some, those who cannot stand the foul smell of the diarrhea, would even use a regular surgical mask.

Like everything in life, you can use things, but not abuse them. Antibiotics are not candies, so you should not be taking them for fun. While they are good to treat bacterial infections, abusing them could have negative drawbacks on your health. When you are prescribed them, follow thoroughly the instructions given to you.

These drugs are so potent that they must not be sold to people without a prescription issued by a licensed medical professional. By the same token, they must not be sold by people without a state-issued licence authorizing them to sell them. That explains the reason as to why I am so against the anarchic way these street vendors in Haiti are allowed to sell these drugs to anybody having money to buy. This is unacceptable, and it becomes a public health hazard, which the authorities MUST stop by any necessary means. I do understand everybody is trying to make a living, but you cannot be doing your hustling at the expense of other people’s lives.  So needless to say that the health of the population is in great danger.

Martelly in Miami: A Surgery Of Controversy

President Martelly of Haiti

According to an official statement issued by the Office of the President in Port-au-Prince, President Martelly left Haiti Wednesday to Miami, Fl where he will undergo a surgical intervention in his right shoulder. No mention of the nature and scope of the surgery is made. He will return a week later, precisely on Thursday, April 12, 2012 to resume his activities.

Apparently, the fact that he is traveling abroad for medical reasons does not please many. Some are arguing that he should not be traveling to the US to be operated on; he should stay home and be treated by Haitian doctors and nurses only for the sake of inspiring confidence in the Haitian health care system. Are these people serious, really?

Of course, that is what every president would hope to see. But such is not the case for Haiti. And who said he will not be operated on by a Haitian orthopedist in Miami -one of our own who had studied in Haiti and left the country for political reasons or because he or she was not valued enough in his or her own country?

This argument, which I consider as a blame on the president’s account, would have made sense had Martelly been president for the past 26 years and nothing been done to structure our health care system and the delivery of care in the country.

Remember, Martelly has been in power for only 11 months; it took years to bring our health care system and the practice of the science of medicine to such a situation of chaos.

His predecessors are done messing up everything, now they want to hold him accountable for the state of affairs in the country. At some point in time, the practice of medicine in Haiti used to be one of the best in the region; it is not so anymore for years.

Aristide and Preval, these two Lavalas guys, for the twenty years they were in power, did not do anything of substance to make sure that their successors would not have to travel abroad should they need care as basic as emergency. They messed it up for all of us. So if blames need to be cast, they need to direct them at these two guys, not Martelly. In fact, did Rene Preval not have to travel abroad, to Cuba precisely, to have his prostate cancer taken care of? I did not hear all these chatters when that happened. Why now I am reading about all these jabbers? I guess Cuba is not foreign to Haiti, America is. Seriously, these healthcare nationalists need to find better ways to show their nationalism.

CONTRACEPTION: The Republicans’ Scapegoat To Take Us To Medical Dark Ages

Foster Friess, a billionaire backer of Rick Santorum, a Republican candidate, was on Andrea Mitchell’s program on MSNBC yesterday complaining about today’s high-cost contraception; he was also promoting cheaper contraceptive means. He stated on the show: “On this contraceptive thing, my Gosh it’s such [sic] inexpensive. You know, back in my days, they used Bayer aspirin for contraception. The gals put it between their knees, and it wasn’t that costly.

 

Aspirin in between the women’s knees as contraception, is this guy serious or what?

I think I got it now. The plan of the Republicans is basically to take this country back to the medical Dark Ages. At a time when we are talking about serious breakthroughs in the science of medicine, these guys are talking about inserting Bayer aspirin in between women’s knees as contraception.

How did we get to this debate shift today where, instead of debating how to fix this economy, we are talking about abortion, contraception and religious freedom?

Last year, as part of the health care reform law the president signed, it was required of all insurance plans to cover preventive care at no cost to the insured. When it comes to women’s health, however, the concept of “coverage of preventive care” does incorporate coverage of contraceptive services, including birth control.

While the president was making sure that women’s contraceptive needs are covered in the health care reform law, he realized that another principle -religious liberty -was being compromised. So he came out last week to rectify that so he could guarantee the inalienability of this constitutional principle of religious liberty we hold so dearly in this country. How did he rectify it?

The compromise the president has reached with the religious institutions and charities is that women will still have access to preventive care at no cost to them, which includes contraceptive services, no matter who their employers are. However, if a woman’s employer is a charity or an institution that objects on religious grounds to the provision of contraceptive cervices as part of their health plan, the president makes it clear that, under the new rule, the insurance company, not the charity or religious institution, will be required to offer free-of-charge contraceptive services to that employee.

Last I checked,  we’re living in a democracy in this country, not a theocracy. Therefore, whatever one’s religious views on contraception for women are, these views must not be forced upon others as not everyone may share them. 

So we need to be very careful as we are following this debate over religious freedom, abortion and contraception to make sure that we don’t get distracted from the real issues affecting lives in this country and, as a result, let these republicans take us to the medical Dark Ages.

A MAJOR VICTORY FOR WOMEN’S HEALTH

I am glad to hear that the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, the nation’s leading breast cancer charity, has reversed its decision to cut off funding (about $600,000 annually) to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screening for the economically disadvantaged people, which anti-abortion activists in the Republican Party were attempting to pressure them to do.

Providing funding for breast cancer screening for women through Planned Parenthood has nothing to do with funding abortion, and these conservative Republicans know it.

If you check out what Planned Parenthood does, you will realize that most of the work they do deals with breast cancer screening, cervical cancer screening, preventing care for sexually transmitted diseases among others -nothing to do with abortion.

Not a dime of the funding from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation is used by Planned Parenthood to finance abortion, yet Rush Limbaugh, the mouthpiece of the Republican Party, refers to them as “the pro-abortion mill industry.” Mind you, this is where millions of women receive their health care.

The decision by the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation to reverse its fund cutoff to Planned Parenthood is a great victory for women’s health. Like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi stated in her brief statement in reaction to such a great victory, “when women speak out, women win, and women’s health has a big victory…”

This is a matter of preventive health care in order to detect breast cancer. The earlier breast cancer can be detected, the better and greater the prognosis. So for the anti-abortion right to try to pressure the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation to defund Planned Parenthood, that’s beyond appalling and heartless.

You can read more on the issue by reading this piece in the Atlantic entitled Top Susan G. Komen Official Resigned Over Planned Parenthood Cave-In filed on Thurday, Feb. 02, 2012 by Jeffrey Goldberg.

MARIJUANA: IT MAKES SENSE TO LEGALIZE IT

This debate over whether or not marijuana should be legalized has been waged for years. Some believe that the cost to society of legalizing it outweigh the benefit. Therefore, it should not be made legal. And I wholeheartedly oppose to that argument from two important parameters: economic and social.

From an economic perspective of supply and demand, the one best way to control, suppress or discourage demand is to increase supply. This same rationale could be used in the case of marijuana. The best way to discourage its consumption is to decriminalize it. Doing so will automatically increase supply, which, in turn, will bring demand down.

The argument that most of the people who are against the idea of legalizing cannabis are presenting is that such measure will turn more people into addicts than ever before, which will have a negative toll on society’s welfare and well-being. Such argument is to me baseless and preposterous; I refuse to be bought into it.

Alcohol, a more potent of a drug than marijuana by most researchers’ accounts, is legal, is it not? I believe it is. Does that make everybody an alcoholic? Absolutely not!!! So do not tell me that legalizing marijuana will turn more people into addicts. That argument is refutable.

Go on this website http://bit.ly/a7VLRG to access 25 scientific research studies published on the facts about marijuana and why legalizing it will not cause any more health-related harms than most of these legal drugs out there, such as alcohol and tobacco.

Marijuana has become a lucrative crop because of its limited supply on the market to meet the demand. Hence, now you have people making a living out of selling it; they are even willing to kill over it. If you legalize it, supply will increase and more structured points of access will be made available to the consumers, meaning all the violence that surrounds the distribution and sale of the product will cease.

Also, what seems to be funny, though, is that people are making a living out of the sale of the substance, yet the government is not getting its share of the pie. How stupid is that! If we legalize it, the government will tax it, meaning more tax revenue to go into our treasury. And the more money we have coming in, the better off we will be economically and socially speaking.

Criminalizing marijuana is to some extent destructive to the foundation of our society. People are getting years behind bars just because of a small possession of marijuana. And when they do get out, because of their criminal record, it is hard for them to find jobs and be reintegrated into society. What impact you think that is going to have on these people? Of course, they are going to go back in jail because they are left to commit illegal acts to survive. That’s the vicious circle of the American penitentiary system.

Those are my motives for being an advocate for the legalization of marijuana, though I have never smoked it in my life. I believe it is causing more harms to the people and the economy by keeping it illegal. Legalizing/ regulating the production, sale and consumption of it is the way to go and the right thing to do.

MENTAL HEALTH AS PERCEIVED BY MOST HAITIANS

Why is it that in our Haitian society seeking mental counseling has always been given a negative connotation? Not only do we not believe in mental health, we also assume that the person seeking help for his or her mental condition has got to be “crazy” because, in our minds, mental counseling is for “crazy” people. Well, today, I am writing this piece to challenge and refute such mindset.

One does NOT need to be “crazy” to seek mental counseling. Since mental health is a component of our overall health, the same way we would go for a physical on a regular basis, our mental health needs that same level of attention or care.

To be aware of the importance of maintaining one’s mental health, to know that mental health is an integral part of one’s overall health, that requires a certain level of education and social sophistication, which the majority of the people do not have.

Some of the things we believe in are really having a toll on the way we care for ourselves. The notion that mentally challenged people must be possessed by some type of a demonic spirit is just unfounded, baseless and ludicrous. Because of such ridiculousness, we are facing a community health challenge, where many mentally ill people in our society are going with their illnesses “undiagnosed” or misdiagnosed.

As a result of a death in the family, for example, a person could be displaying signs and symptoms of severe depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or whatever the case may be. What do we say of the person’s condition? We say that “sé mò a k ap fè l” or the dead is doing that to him or her. Sometimes, if the person has some known or unknown ties with the Vodou religion, we would hold that some ancestral spirits or “lwas” are persecuting him or her because they have been neglected. And the remedy to that is to call for a Vodou ceremony if the person is a Vodou believer, or engage in all sorts of prayer rituals to “exorcise” the demons if the person is a Christian. Meanwhile, the person’s condition is deteriorating.

Furthermore, there is this stigma we attach to mental illness in our society. We look at that as shameful, disgraceful and appalling. When someone is mentally ill in most of our families, like a family member who contracts HIV, we tend to vilify that person because in our eyes he or she is a disgrace, a subject of shame to our family. What do we do to handle the situation? We try to keep it into hiding as much as we can or send the person away to a member of the family in the countryside. Hence, that person is doomed; he may never get to receive any type of treatment whatsoever for his or her treatable condition.

Growing up in Gonaives, specifically near the community marketplace, I had seen it all -schizophrenic patients, bipolar patients, delusional patients, etc… Most of these people were not from the city; they probably came from the outskirts of town. It would be fair to say that that part of the city was the dumpster for mentally challenged people. Some of these individuals were extremely violent and represented a danger to themselves and others. They should have been admitted, not left unattended to be roving around as though nothing was wrong with them. Then again, if we were to admit them, where would we be putting them, especially when we know that the city’s only public hospital –Providence Hospital -was not equipped with a psychiatric ward to cater to their needs?

The January the 12th earthquake makes matters even more complicated than they already were. It is going to have a negative or devastating long-term effect on the psyche of our nation. Having to deal with the toll of the disaster -300,000 human lives wiped out, thousands of physically paralyzed or traumatized citizens, over one million people living in tent cities with no hopes of a better tomorrow, women being raped on a daily basis, the list goes on and on and on… -this is not going to be a simple task.

There cannot possibly be a Haitian society without the Haitian people. So to rebuild Haiti is to rehabilitate its people physically and mentally. And to mentally rehabilitate the people, these misconceptions surrounding mental health talked about earlier must be addressed comprehensively and systematically.

How can you change the mindset of the people to make them more receptive to the realness of mental illness? In other words, how can you effectively treat someone’s mental illness when that person deeply and strongly believes that his or her condition is the result of some type of unexplained supernatural occurrence? Those are some very steep challenges health care professionals (mental health experts), the Haitian authorities and the international community must tackle should they really want to rebuild the country as they promised to do.

Finally, one does not need to be “crazy” to seek mental counseling. Mental illnesses are real; they have nothing to do with supernatural occurrences. In my opinion, supernatural explanation to mental illness is the easiest way to satisfy our ignorance or limited knowledge. We, medical professionals and educators, have a lot of work to do to challenge these myths and misconceptions killing our people. If education is the key to and essence of life, ignorance is the poison that can destroy it.

SOCIO-ECONOMICS: A COMMUNITY OUTLOOK FACTOR

If you drive through any suburb of New Jersey, you could barely see a liquor store, a fast food restaurant or a church on your way. Yet, in the economically disfavored cities (i.e., East Orange, Orange, Irvington, Newark, etc…), all you see on every block are liquor stores, fast food restaurants (McDonald, Burger King, Wendy’s, Checkers, Popeyes, Chinese, etc…) and churches. And I truly believe it is like that in most, if not all, of the cities across the country. Trust me, there is a reason for that.

When in nursing school I was studying Community Health Nursing at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, I was extremely disturbed by this observation. As part of our final grade, we were to team up with a partner to work on a community health research. My partner and I were assigned to conduct a windshield survey in the city of East Orange to depict the socio-economic realities the citizens in that city were facing and how they (those realities) were impacting lives.

Windshield surveys are a form of information gathering mechanism, involving making direct visual observations of a neighborhood or community while driving. These types of surveys are quite an inexpensive, time-efficient approach to assess the social environment of a community. They can even be conducted on foot in the event that a vehicle is not available or practicable.

The purpose of the windshield survey my partner and I conducted was to gain a better understanding of the city of East Orange’s social environment in terms of its boundaries, housing conditions, use of open spaces, shopping areas, schools, religious facilities, human services (such as hospitals and physician offices), modes of transportation, protective services (such as fire and police stations), and the overall neighborhood life.

We were working closely with the health officials at the East Orange Public Health Department to retrieve and analyze health-related policies, prevalent diseases and statistical data. It was a very insightful research study, which was worth conducted.

Many may be asking why you only find the McDonalds, the Burger Kings, etc… in these economically challenged neighborhoods. Well, first of all, you cannot blame the city officials; they do not have control over that. It is pure economics –supply and demand. Why supplying a good or service to a population that does not have the financial or purchasing leverage to afford it? In other words, what is the sense for a fancy restaurant owner selling healthy food to come open a branch in a neighborhood where the people cannot afford to buy the exquisite meals? That would be really stupid, especially when we all know that business people are in business not for sympathy but for the purpose of making money.

What explanation do I have for the presence of the liquor stores and the churches in those neighborhoods? It is so because there is a demand for them. Otherwise, they would have not been there. Most of the people that live in poverty cling to their drugs to help them forget about the stressful lives they are living and their religion to give them a sense of hope. Do the people in the suburbs consume alcohol and honor their religion? Yes, they do, but demand is everything.

Could the city officials implement policies to discourage these businesses from opening shop in their neighborhoods? Well, that would be economically stupid on their parts, especially when we know the level of education of their constituents only equip them for these kinds of jobs. If they (these jobs) were to be pushed away, then what would happen to employment opportunities and tax revenues which the city governments desperately need to run their operations? So it is a vicious circle, which can only be broken and reversed (on a long-term basis) through a drastic agenda of social reforms with emphasis on investing in the people’s education to increase their socio-economic worth.