Birmingham Alabama is not at the top of any list of the healthiest cities anywhere.
Pollution above the legal limits, the highest rate of obesity in the nation, and a 25 percent smoking rate are just a few of the causes of Birmingham’s low health status.
Recent research published in the issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research on September 28, 2011, indicate that a fatalistic attitude is highly correlated with the failure to seek preventative medical attention.
Fatalism is defined as the philosophical doctrine that all events are predetermined so that man is powerless to alter his destiny.
The research conducted in Britain by Anne Miles, Ph.D., a lecturer in psychology at Birkbeck, University of London, found that lower socioeconomic people were less likely to have colorectal screenings to detect early cancer than were higher socioeconomic individuals. The difference was 56% higher for higher socioeconomic individuals to have a simple colorectal test done regularly.
The difference between Birmingham and Britain is that any colorectal cancer screening exam is free in Britain.
The term coined by psychologists to represent this lack of interest in one’s own welfare is cancer fatalism.
No measures are readily available for the effect of cancer fatalism in Birmingham and Alabama but the underlying socioeconomic differences are the mainstay for the influx of federal tax dollars for a variety of cancer and other health screening programs for the poor.
Fatalism should not be directly related to religion. The “religious” are documented as being more prone to see doctors in Alabama than most other groups.
The research was reviewed atthe Eureka Alert web site on October 29, 2011.