According to ethical principles as stipulated by ANA’s Code of Ethics for Nurses, all people should have equal opportunities to health care and should be valued equally regardless of their race, ethnicity, national backgrounds or social class. Health is vital for the well-being of all individuals, and also plays a central role in promoting a self-sufficient economy. As such, ethical principles require that the health resources be distributed equitably to all the individuals requiring health care without discrimination (Braveman, 2009). In this case, access to healthcare to everyone is determined by need.
While the ethical principles provide a degree of assistance for individuals within the low-income brackets for the largely vulnerable persons in the society, it has been criticized as resulting in population disparities. When the high-income earners and the low-income earners or the high class and the low-class individuals are given access to the same type of healthcare, the low earners end up disadvantaged because they cannot afford to pay for the other medical expenses required to manage obesity including adequate housing, sanitation and sufficient and healthy nutrition (Hand et al., 2013).
Moreover, some ethnic groups such as the Blacks and the Hispanics are socially disadvantaged as manifested by their low educational backgrounds, earning potential and lack of access to health-promoting neighborhoods. As such, there is an increase in racial residential segregation, with vulnerable population becoming more prone to obesity than those with a high educational level, high-income earners and those living in health-promoting neighborhoods. As such, the psychological and material disadvantage results in population disparities in terms of vulnerability to obesity.
- Braveman, P. (2009). Peer reviewed: A health disparities perspective on obesity research. Preventing chronic disease, 6(3).
- Hand, M. S. N., Wren, B., Jennifer, C., & Creel, D. N. S. (2013). Ethical issues surrounding weight bias and stigma in healthcare. Online Journal of Health Ethics, 8(2), 4.