Poor bodily health may be attributed to many factors, one of them being poverty. Poor people living in low-income communities are devoid of many factors that may boost health of microorganism. Microscopic organisms or 'microbes' are very important for good personal health and for the development of healthy environment around. Poverty may lead to less or complete lack of access to healthy food and environment, which may increase the risk on many diseases and health issues. All these claims have been made by a new study conducted by Suzanne Ishaq and colleagues at the University of Oregon.
The study results that were published in the journal PLOS Biology suggest that poverty may act as one of the primary causes or poor health by creating unequal access to beneficial microbiomes like access to clean environment and water, fresh food, and proper pre- and postnatal care.
Suzanne Ishaq, lead author of the study said, "It is well-known that inequalities in access to perinatal care, healthy foods, quality housing, and the natural environment can create and arise from social inequality. Here, we focus on the argument that access to beneficial microorganisms is a facet of public health, and health inequality may be compounded by inequitable microbial exposure."
The study established a relationship between low microbial diversity and poor health, including obesity, metabolic problems and various mental health and psychiatric disorders. The researchers suggest that access to healthy microorganisms is a human right. The government should take necessary steps to remove social barriers that prevent maintaining social equity.
"The way microorganisms and our tissues interact is determined by early life development and the maturation of the immune system, our diet and lifestyle, and the quality of our surrounding environment. Much of the health disparity in societies, which can be attributed to a lack of access stemming from social inequity, is manifested as medical conditions, which have some relation to microorganisms or lack thereof," said Ishaq.
"It seems like a stretch to think that microbes are involved in social equity until you realise that so many social equity issues affect your exposure to microorganisms in some way, and your ability to recruit and maintain a beneficial microbial community, " Isaq concluded.