"UNNATURAL CAUSES criss-crosses the country investigating the stories and findings that are shaking up conventional notions about what makes us healthy or sick. It turns out there’s much more to our well-being than genes, behaviors and medical care. The social, economic, and physical environments in which we are born, live and work profoundly affect our longevity and health – as much as smoking, diet and exercise. The series sheds light on mounting evidence of how lack of access to power and resources can get under the skin and disrupt human biology as surely as germs and viruses. It also reveals a health gradient tied to wealth: those at the top of the class pyramid average longer, healthier lives, while those at the bottom are the most disempowered, get sicker more often and die sooner. Most of us fall somewhere in between. What's more, at every level, many communities of color are worse off than their white counterparts. Researchers believe that chronic stress over the life course may create an additional health burden for people of color. Compelling personal stories illustrate obstacles and inequities in society but they also point the way to new possibilities, as individuals and communities organize to gain control over their destinies and their health."