Being poor is also bad for our health. It seems obvious. But it is not only because poverty limits access to a healthier diet, healthy foods, or stress-free environments and conditions. Poverty also makes health worse because it restricts access to beneficial microorganisms.
This is what researchers from the University of Oregon (United States) have seen and report in a study published by the journal PLOS Biology. People who live in low-income communities they lack many of the factors that help promote healthy microbiomessuch as access to fresh food, clean air and water, adequate pre and postnatal care and healthy indoor environments.
The scientists have linked low microbial diversity with poor health, including obesity and associated metabolic problems and multiple psychiatric and mental health disorders. These problems can disproportionately affect the poorest people and aggravate existing health disparities.
Researcher Suzanne Ishaq and her colleagues at the University of Oregon describe efforts to address these disparities in boosting microbial health. Appropriate maternity leave and prenatal care, for example, will help ensure that Babies receive a beneficial community of microorganisms from their mothers during childbirth, and that the community be fed through breastfeeding.
"Social justice problems affect our exposure to microorganisms"
Eliminate food deficiencies and improve access to healthy school lunches It will help provide the fiber-rich diet necessary to maintain various microbes, they say. And changes in zoning and neighborhood development can reduce the abundance and transmission of potentially dangerous microbes that thrive in industrial areas with inadequate green spaces and poorly maintained and poorly maintained buildings.
Microorganisms play such an integral role in our health and well-being, the authors argue, that access to them is a human right. As a result, they add that governments have an obligation to eliminate social barriers that prevent people from maintaining a healthy microbial community as a social justice issue.
"It seems an exaggeration to think that microbes are involved in social justice – Ishaq points out – until you realize that so many problems of this justice affect in some way your exposure to microorganisms and your ability to recruit and maintain a beneficial microbial community. "