It would not hurt to invest a little money when it comes to good health. This statement is true but it limits the discussion of health to economics. The realization of good health is both a social phenomenon and a communal effort which requires active and constructive participation and maintenance by members of a social class.
Good health is relative to social class and by this I do not mean that the poor are the least healthy and the wealthy are the most vibrant due to their access to health care. No, there is another dimension that remains untouched in the discussion of health among social classes. The struggling yet socially mobile middle class are potentially the unhealthiest among the social classes. And this is not because of access to health care or issues of economics and affordability rather this is an issue of lifestyle options and alternatives as determined or limited by an established middle class social life—food, leisure, expectations, aspirations, etc.
My discussion of health in the middle class will go as far as figuring out why the middle class are less interested in having a healthy lifestyle than their lower and upper class counterparts. Since I cannot give a detailed demographic description of who the middle class are for this discussion, I would like to assume that there is such a thing as a “middle class way of life” – a lifestyle commonly associated with the middle class but is openly and unconsciously practiced by all social classes. To put it more simply, these are the people who spend their mornings, break times or idle moments, and evenings connected to the Internet consuming loads of information and data. Given this assumption, I think it is safe to say that these people possess or have access to computers or mobile phones.
My Assumptions (not based on empirical evidence and are subject to further research in the Philippine context, or Los Banos context in our case)
- -Good health is social
- - Good health practices should be replicable and practical to everyone who are willing to lead a healthy life
- - Farmers and lower class citizens have access to organic food since their own organic produce revolves around their families and small communities
- - Upper class citizens, already given that they have the financial capacity to purchase organic goods, are closer to organic specialty shops since they are its target market
- - Middle class citizens are usually stuck in a sort of “health limbo” because, generally, they don’t want to get their hands dirty and grow produce themselves and at the same time they strive for a life of luxury
- - The middle class are the most susceptible to illness and disease
- - The middle class diet includes high amounts of sodium, caffeine, sugar, and cholesterol
- - Increased stress and expectations leads the middle class to consume energy -rich foods like fatty and sugary ready-to-eat snacks and meals.
What the Middle Class Need
- - A supportive environment to encourage good health among the middle class
- - Personal efforts/individual efforts and lifestyle choices by healthy individuals should be supported by a healthy social environment
- - A social environment with a positive attitude towards good health
- - A social environment that promotes organic agriculture
- - A social environment that views healthy living as a normal way of life and not just for those of the upper or lower classes
- - A healthy social environment that gives emphasis on the role of the community for good health
- - Responsible entrepreneurship that would help expand healthy options and lifestyle alternatives in the community
- - Organic agriculture and backyard farming for self-consumption
- - Health-conscious educational curricula in schools
- - Health-sensitive business ideas and practices
- - Los Banos has already done well in promoting fitness, now it should be augmented by the promotion of good health through proper diet by way of organic and healthy food businesses and establishments like local restaurants, eateries and organic vegetable markets. This would give the middle class other options aside from fast foods, convenience stores, and tapsilog stalls
- - Emphasis of the UP Open University on Organic Agriculture in their PED and NEP courses to encourage and develop health-conscious entrepreneurs. Emulating the way UP Rural High School promoted and emphasized agriculture to its students during our time.
- - The link between organic agriculture and entrepreneurship is a practical solution in creating a healthy social environment and supportive community of good health.
- To help formulate a practical approach to healthy living in the social context of today’s middle class society.
- Middle class living is like a bouncing ball, it never stays up or down for a long time. When will the middle class realize that health is a major lifestyle issue/concern when, generally, their main focus shifts up and down from survival to living lavish lifestyles?